Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Book Review: The Postmistress

Like hundreds of other book clubs across America, Sarah Blake's The Postmistress was our June book club pick. Normally I would never pick a book with a cover like this one, as it cries out "cheesy romance novel!" A faded rose atop a letter---ugh. But I had read several reviews of the novel that sounded quite positive, so we chose not to judge the book by its cover.

As usual, we didn't actually discuss the book much during book club. Only half of us had read it anyway (as usual). Book club is really about the friends, food and wine anyway. But those of us who did read it really liked it. One book club member especially enjoyed the steamy sections, although they were few and far between.

This WW2-era novel focuses on the lives of three women: Iris, the postmistress of a tiny New England town; Emma, the doctor's new wife; and Frankie, a war correspondent in London. The stories were all a bit disjointed, especially at the beginning. There were too many winding trails before getting to the actual story. However, once I got on solid footing, I found the stories interesting. I especially loved Frankie's sections, from her reports of the bombings in London to her train journey trying to figure out what was going on with the Jews.

The real meat in this novel lies in the disparity between what is going on in Europe—what Frankie sees—and what is happening in the lives of Iris and Emma in their quiet New England town. Frankie reports on lives that are falling apart, lives lost and about to be lost, while Iris and Emma maintain a tenuous hold on simple routines that are about to crash.

This is definitely worth a read, especially if you enjoy reading around the outskirts of WW2—those unknown stories, the little snippets of lives changed forever.

Linked up on the Saturday Review of Books

Sunday, June 5, 2011

The Sunday Salon: April and May in Review

Now that summer's here, I'm trying to get back on track with regular book blogging. I've got a bit of catch-up to do with reviewing, but I'm getting there…

Books Read in April and May (click for my reviews)
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen (re-read)
The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro
Comes a Time for Burning by Steven Havill
A Far Country by Daniel Mason
March by Geraldine Brooks
Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie (re-read)
Nanny Returns by Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus
My Name is Mary Sutter by Robin Oliveira
The Postmistress by Sarah Blake
Favorite Book of the Months
April: March by Geraldine Brooks
May: My Name Is Mary Sutter
Both of these are absolutely fantastic. They'll absolutely be on my Top 10 list of the year.
Books Read to the Kids
The Princess and the Goblin by George Macdonald
Lots of books about the Titanic

Currently Reading
Climbing the Stairs by Padma Venkatramen

Up Next
Alice in Wonderland (re-read)

Added to my TBR List
An Atlas of Impossible Longing by Anuradha Roy (Reviewed by S. Krishna)
The Bride's House by Sandra Dallas
Dreams of Joy by Lisa See
The Ninth Wife by Amy Stolls
Secret Daughter by Shilpi Somaya-Gowda (reviewed at S. Krishna's Books)
State of Wonder by Ann Patchett
The Story of a Beautiful Girl by Rachel Simon
The Strange Case of the Broad Street Pump by Sandra Hempel