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tree_lover
Posts: 158
Registered: ‎09-08-2009
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Re: First Impressions

I'm new to "First Look" and I read from the beginning that there would be some errors or grammatical issues.  I kind of expected it.  I'm sure it's o.k. to mention this.  I saw some as well.  Thanks for asking the question that might have been on some people's mind.

 

liz

http://nygirltrustnoone.blogspot.com/
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sheljenk
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Re: First Impressions

She is an amazing author. I love how she gets inside people's heads and I love how she describes what they are thinking and describes how the characters looks. For instance, when Iris is thinking about how her mother looks at one point she says "Thin framed, but gone to fat, her mother's body hung like too many coats thrown over a hanger." I can imagine what she looks like. The labor scenes were very touching and really set well. I felt like I was there. And Frankie's war reporting is very touching.
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literature
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Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: First Impressions

I had a hard time getting into the book but only when the discussion was about the residents of Franklin. The description of the town itself was okay; it was when the different characters were being introduced there that I felt the story drag.  The parts with Frankie, the other correspondents and especially the broadcasts were interesting from the very beginning.  Then towards around Chapter 6 or so the whole story picked up.  I am about 2/3's finished and I find that reading the book is interfering with going to work.  I would so like to stay home and read and then start my postings.  But I have to work! 

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Dotcat
Posts: 16
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: First Impressions

I am always drawn to books by an interesting or attractive book cover. Based on the beautiful artwork and the title alone I would never have imagined the intensity of the subject matter. I have been very drawn to the story from the beginning though and I personally love the descriptive writing. I feel as if I exist in that world while I am reading it.

 

Donna

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babzilla41
Posts: 252
Registered: ‎05-04-2009
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Re: First Impressions


slrihm wrote:

It's one of those generation gap things; the   "rubber pouch and glass bottle of vinegar "  was a 'douche bag' that women used after "sexual relations" to flush out their 'privates.'   

 

I was a little startled to read it, but remembered the tool as one my own mother used (though I'm not sure just when or how she let me know what it was for).  I'm not sure just what the purpose was; cleanliness I suppose.  Or why the practice went away.... 

 

It's one of the things I like about the book.  Sarah has been pretty graphic about some practices of the time; especially women's issues, that wouldn't have been referred to in writings of that day and time.


 

Slrihm:  I knew what it was...I just couldn't figure out the relevance of it in the story!

"I love books. If I could eat them, I would. I love their scent and often put my nose in to inhale their aroma." - Kathleen Grissom
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Peppermill
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Re: First Impressions

 


BookBobBP wrote:

I am really enjoy the story.  At first I found it kind of choppy because I did not get the transitions.  Once I figured out the Author was using the Radio to do the transition I was totally into it. I thought it was a great idea radio was what connected the three main characters.  I am really enjoying the story of these three women during a war I think each of them is giving a very unique look and view point on it.


I'm sorry -- please explain.  I think I have totally missed something neat and basic to the story telling!

 

 

"Seize the moments of happiness, love and be loved! That is the only reality in the world, all else is folly. It is the one thing we are interested in here." -- Leo Tolstoy
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Peppermill
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Re: First Impressions

I also liked the use of Anna Karenina -- using a classic novel within a novel gave life to the moment and its characters. 

 

I am so fascinated by how differently we all react.  That passage was jarring, almost off-putting to me.  Somehow reading Anna Karenina didn't "feel" consistent with the character Emma that I was "meeting" on the bus.  Now, Charlotte Bronte or Jane Eyre  might have. :smileyhappy:  Maybe I am being like Iris and too hastily jumping to conclusions.  (I also am wondering if the book is a foreshadowing in any way.)

 

Incidentally, were neck scarves "in" with women's suits in the 1940's?  I haven't gone looking yet.  I do remember head scarves as widely used in that period,.

 

 


blkeyesuzi wrote:

Fozzie wrote:

I don’t trust Iris.  The first full paragraph on page 14 left me with a bad taste in my mouth.  Iris jumped to conclusions about a woman she didn’t know on the bus.  Yes, we all judge people and make conclusions when we don’t even know them, but Iris seemed overly judgmental in this case.

 

I think the way the transitions between scenes and main characters are handled is superb.  For example, on page 14, we had Iris looking at the girl reading on the bus.  Then, so smoothly, the next section started with the line the girl on the bus, Emma, was reading in Anna Karenina.  It happened again on page 23.  Will shut off the radio as the radio personality was signing off and then, immediately, we read Frankie’s comments about what she thought about how she sounded while signing off for the night.  The transitions occur at the exact moment that the characters lives intersect.  I like that.


I liked those transitions, too.  Those transitions were very well done and helped me move easily from scene to scene with ease.   I also liked the use of Anna Karenina -- using a classic novel within a novel gave life to the moment and its characters. 


 

 

"Seize the moments of happiness, love and be loved! That is the only reality in the world, all else is folly. It is the one thing we are interested in here." -- Leo Tolstoy
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Andromeda290
Posts: 1
Registered: ‎10-14-2008

Re: First Impressions

Well I tend to agree with some of you about the abrupt scene changes. I have had to backtrack a time or two also. I would be intently reading  and  visualizing the the prose when I was suddenly in another place... that aside...I really like the characters and the WW2 settings. I'm getting used to the style of writing and fully intend to enjoy the book. Happy reading all !!

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DSaff
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Registered: ‎10-19-2006
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Re: First Impressions

Thanks for bring up the cover rose, Jane.  I am also wondering how it fits into our story.  :smileyhappy:

 


JaneM wrote:

I have been thinking about the cover and the dried rose.  So far the only reference I have found to roses is on p. 23.  When Emma enters her new house she sees that "Will had put beach roses in a jam jar against the window to welcome her."  I will be interested to see if roses come up again in some way as I continue reading.

 


 

 

DonnaS =) " Reading is a means of thinking with another person's mind; it forces you to stretch your own." Charles Scribner
"A book is like a garden carried in the pocket." Chinese Proverb
My blog: http://bookworm56.blogspot.com
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Peppermill
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Re: First Impressions

 


freelamp wrote:

My first impressions of the book are good characters and plot.  Being old fashioned in using proper English sentence structure, I have had difficulty with all the clauses and choppy sentences.  Some sentences are like haiku and other forms of verse.   Since other readers have no problem with this, I think it is a case of "generation gap" understanding for me.  I'm trying hard to find the "flow".   I also realize that it may be a writer's tool to have text that is unpredictable, just as war is.


 

 

Freelamp/Leona -- I agree with you that Sarah Blake could use some "sentence work."  Many are wonderful, but some stop me cold, asking myself, oh,  where are the editors these days?   While I don't mind phrases and even short sentences, I do have difficulties with ones like these:

 

"But her attention was caught by the sight of Emma Fitch's head wrapped in a yellow scarf bound who knows where, crossing the frame of the open door."  p.48    

 

Now just what is it we are wondering about -- where EF's head is headed, or where her yellow scarf is headed?  The sentence as constructed certainly does not ask where EF is bound!  (I also thought on the first read maybe Emma was walking into the post office.)

 

"...the collar of her sweater sagging slightly where she had lost weight."   p. 29 Why "collar" sagging from losing weight?

 

"...steep-angled roofs and grayed shingles, a wide front porch and a door the color of the shingles, unpainted." p. 22  The meaning -- an unpainted door the color of the shingles?   Or the shingles as if unpainted -- but, oh, that doesn't make sense.  Now, what is so important about this sentence that I must stop and ponder over its meaning because an unusual construction is chosen?

 

"Down they rode until the tarmac pulled free of the dunes and curved toward the sea, jogging alongside the gray harbor into town." p. 17   Is the tarmac jogging, or is it "they" or the bus or ...?   

 

Is the double entendre intended here:  "Do you remember after it all, how he'd stand at the end of the garden dressed head to toe in khaki looking like the summer people's help, his neck and shoulders bowed, staring into the bank of roses?" p.49  (Brown clothes were associated with the Nazi; Fitch had worked in the bank.)

 

Leona, if you want to have fun with choppy sentences, try a postmodern writer like Nuruddin Farah or Angela Carter.  Either can drive me up a tree, but at least I have a sense they have control of what they are trying to do, even if I may not understand.  (Worse yet, try poetry with that designation - postmodern.)

 

Despite my quibbling about specific sentences, my overall initial impression of The Postmistress is one of fondness.  So far it falls within the category I will label a "good read," although not one that I can't lay aside to do other things.  I enjoy some of the minor characters, like Mr. Flores, Mrs. Niles, Florence Cripps and Jim Toms in Franklin; Dusty Pankhurst, Jim Dowell, and Harriet in England.  I rather hope they (other than Harriet, sadly) make more than cameo appearances.

"Seize the moments of happiness, love and be loved! That is the only reality in the world, all else is folly. It is the one thing we are interested in here." -- Leo Tolstoy
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Tarri
Posts: 457
Registered: ‎02-26-2007
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Re: First Impressions


jb70 wrote:

Oh I also meant to add that this one of the first books I've read set in this time period.  Atonement is on my TBR list and I did see the movie but this isn't an era that I am all that familiar with so I am interested to see where the story goes.

Jill


Atonement is one of my favorite books.  It really gets interesting after page 130, so don't give up. 
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Sunltcloud
Posts: 933
Registered: ‎10-19-2006

Re: First Impressions

 

The rose on the cover looks different from beach roses. The Cape Cod beach rose, a rugosa rose, has a simple five petal bloom. Maybe the cover rose symbolizes love and the letter underneath is a love letter.

DSaff wrote:

Thanks for bring up the cover rose, Jane.  I am also wondering how it fits into our story.  :smileyhappy:

 


JaneM wrote:

I have been thinking about the cover and the dried rose.  So far the only reference I have found to roses is on p. 23.  When Emma enters her new house she sees that "Will had put beach roses in a jam jar against the window to welcome her."  I will be interested to see if roses come up again in some way as I continue reading.

 


 

 


 

 

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mom18
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Registered: ‎01-27-2007
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Re: First Impressions

I LOVE WWII ERA STORIES. THIS BOOK SO VIVIDLY DESCRIBES THE ATMOSPHERE THAT YOU FEEL AS IF YOU ARE THERE. THE SCENE WHERE THE BIRTHING MOTHER DIES IS HEARTBREAKING.

THIS IS THE FIRST TIME I HAVE DONE A FIRST LOOK BOOK  OR USED A MESSAGE BOARD . I AM LOOKING FORWARD TO IT.

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Peppermill
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Re: First Impressions

 


mom18 wrote:

I LOVE WWII ERA STORIES. THIS BOOK SO VIVIDLY DESCRIBES THE ATMOSPHERE THAT YOU FEEL AS IF YOU ARE THERE. THE SCENE WHERE THE BIRTHING MOTHER DIES IS HEARTBREAKING.

THIS IS THE FIRST TIME I HAVE DONE A FIRST LOOK BOOK  OR USED A MESSAGE BOARD . I AM LOOKING FORWARD TO IT.


 

 

First post!  Yeah!  Welcome aboard, Mom 18!  May you enjoy on-line book clubs as much as many of the rest of us.

 

Yes, as I posted elsewhere, I would like to more about the condition that cause Maggie to die and how prevalent it was in the 1940's and how risky, especially for a woman who had already delivered several children.  Just how negligent was Will?

 

Pepper

"Seize the moments of happiness, love and be loved! That is the only reality in the world, all else is folly. It is the one thing we are interested in here." -- Leo Tolstoy
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edelweissAM
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Re: First Impressions

This novel pulls you into the lives of some very interesting characters. It shows you what life was like before moderm communications, modern medicine, and the realization that we all are affected in some way by the deeds of others. Americans did not want to go to war; they did not want to lose their young men in a war that was oceans away. We did not know of the horrors that were taking place or the terrible secrets that were being kept from us.  Letters meant a great deal ! Those who handled the mail were entrusted with messages of love, birth, death etc.. They were our only way of personal communications. I think this novel introduces very well, the effects of war on many different people, the different ways people handle a terrible situation, and what is was like to be a woman in that difficult time.

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Jrc3168
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Re: First Impressions

The part of the book that had the biggest impression on me were the scenes with Frankie traveling on the train.  I think that many readers have read about wartorn Europe, know about the bombings and the shortages, but not many really understand what it was like under the Nazi regime, and Blake was able to make that personal.   

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AvidReader44
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Re: First Impressions

Absolutely brilliant!  Very descriptive, takes you straight there :smileyhappy:

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michaelsjlrc
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Re: First Impressions

In general my first impressions were positive. I am definitely enjoying this book.  I was a little confused in the beginning because it took a while for me to figure out who the important characters where and how they were related, and there were a few things here and there that made me wonder, but for the most part a good read so far.

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Sheltiemama
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Re: First Impressions

So far, I've been good and am keeping to the schedule. I'm so proud of myself!

 

I'm a journalist, so I'm loving Frankie and the descriptions of the war coverage. I can relate to her. I'm a copy editor now, but early in my career, when I was working for a weekly suburban paper, some idiot teenage boy set off a pipe bomb in the high school about a mile down the road. Though it wasn't my beat, I was the only one in the office. I really didn't want to go someplace where a bomb had just gone off -- until I drove into the parking lot and saw vehicles from other local media. I practically ran into the school, my camera bag bumping against my hip. We're an odd bunch. When others run from something, we run toward it. Just think about 9/11. Every journalist I know wanted to be there that day, and those who were gave us a record of one of the biggest events in our country's history.

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Alnilan
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Re: First Impressions

Positive impression: I like the style and the pace of the story. It reads like one of the great literature classic works - well crafted language, descriptions and characters. I am enjoying it very much. 

Only negative impression: the book cover (yes, I know not to judge by it) because it does not convey the richly layered story and characters, it makes me think of a silly sugar coated romance. I think the cover should be a "vintage collage" representative of  the three main female characters.