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Extended Audio Sample The Postmistress, by Sarah Blake Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (21,849 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Sarah Blake Narrator: Orlagh Cassid Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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Those who carry the truth sometimes bear a terrible weight.

It is 1940. France has fallen. Bombs are dropping on London. And President Roosevelt is promising he won’t send our boys to fight in “foreign wars.”

But American radio gal Frankie Bard, the first woman to report from the Blitz in London, wants nothing more than to bring the war home. Frankie’s radio dispatches crackle across the Atlantic ocean, imploring listeners to pay attention—as the Nazis bomb London nightly, and Jewish refugees stream across Europe. Frankie is convinced that if she can just get the right story, it will wake Americans to action and they will join the fight.

Meanwhile, in Franklin, Massachusetts, a small town on Cape Cod, Iris James hears Frankie’s broadcasts and knows that it is only a matter of time before the war arrives on Franklin’s shores. In charge of the town’s mail, Iris believes that her job is to deliver and keep people’s secrets, passing along the news that letters carry. And one secret she keeps are her feelings for Harry Vale, the town mechanic, who inspects the ocean daily, searching in vain for German U-boats he is certain will come. Two single people in midlife, Iris and Harry long ago gave up hope of ever being in love, yet they find themselves unexpectedly drawn toward each other.

Listening to Frankie as well are Will and Emma Fitch, the town’s doctor and his new wife, both trying to escape a fragile childhood and forge a brighter future. When Will follow’s Frankie’s siren call into the war, Emma’s worst fears are realized. Promising to return in six months, Will goes to London to offer his help, and the lives of the three women entwine.

Alternating between an America still cocooned in its inability to grasp the danger at hand and a Europe being torn apart by war, The Postmistress gives us two women who find themselves unable to deliver the news and a third woman desperately waiting for news yet afraid to hear it.
Sarah Blake’s The Postmistress shows how we bear the fact that war goes on around us while ordinary lives continue. Filled with stunning parallels to today, it is a remarkable novel.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Quietly effective work from first novelist Blake.”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • “Even readers who don’t think they like historical novels will love this one and talk it up to their friends.”

    Library Journal

  • “Blake captures two different worlds—a naïve nation in denial and, across the ocean, a continent wracked with terror—with a deft sense of character and plot, and a perfect willingness to take on big, complex questions, such as the merits of truth and truth-telling in wartime.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “A book that hits hard and pushes buttons expertly…The real strength of The Postmistress lies in its ability to strip away readers’ defenses against stories of wartime uncertainty and infuse that chaos with wrenching immediacy and terror. Ms. Blake writes powerfully about the fragility of life and about Frankie’s efforts to explain how a person can be present in one instant and then in the next, gone forever.”

    New York Times

  • “There’s both exquisite pain and pleasure to be found in these pages, which jump from the mass devastation in Europe to the intimate heartaches of an American small town. As a war rages, and the baby in Emma’s belly grows, Frankie and Iris must answer an impossible question: When and how, if at all, should life-altering news be delivered?”

    Entertainment Weekly

  • “A splendid novel about the power of words to change people and the world…Its spark comes from its enduring message about the need for humanity to step up and fight anyone and anything that threatens our fragile moral code…In 2010, The Postmistress may stand alone, as did Kathryn Stockett’s The Help in 2009, as a refreshingly honest novel about how a handful of people can help change the world.”

    USA Today

  • Selected for the February 2010 Indie Next List
  • A New York Times Bestseller
  • A 2011 Audie Award Finalist
  • Winner of an AudioFile Earphones Award

Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Dana | 2/19/2014

    " Interesting, a good flow between 3 women at once. Definite shortfall in that she changed historical facts and an even bigger one in that the basic question was "what is the meaning of life" and none of the characters ever found out. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Ingrid Morris | 2/10/2014

    " The Postmistress: WWII is such a powerful backdrop. The story survives because of the life given it by history. Otherwise it is limp. I cared for the three female charaters at the middle of the story, but nothing good happened with them. They, to borrow a era appropriate phrase that has become recently rediscovered, simply "Stay calm and Carry On." "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Geourska | 1/25/2014

    " This book is probably what I would describe as beach reading. It had a decent plot, but I found it hard to become truly involved with any of the characters. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 by Mindysue | 1/24/2014

    " Didn't finish, didn't care for it. "

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About the Author
Author Sarah Blake

Sarah Blake lives in Washington, DC, with her husband, the poet Josh Weiner, and their two sons.