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1st February
written by Steph

My review for the February issue of BookPage is now up!  I made a conscious effort to mix things up and read something other than the regular "quirky, indie fic" fare I normally devour and review.  So instead I read The Postmistress by Sarah Blake - a sweeping saga revolving around 3 women just as World War I is about to reach its apex in terms of devastation and scope. I will say that the basic premise of the novel is that this is the story of a postmistress who decides not to deliver the mail (and all the moral quandaries and ramifications of such a decision), but I didn't really feel that was the true heart of the novel I read, merely a sliver of a much richer story.  I hate when novels have flaps with synopses that are misleading or place the wrong emphasis on certain plot points!  I don't normally gravitate towards fiction that is so overtly marketed towards women, nor would I consider war fiction one of my passions, but I did really enjoy this novel, in large part due to the writing, which I thought was a cut above much of what is published nowadays (though at times I did feel that perhaps coherency was sacrificed for poetry).  I thought The Postmistress was a powerful meditation on loss and how we naturally seek to impose meaning and structure on our world, especially in the face of chaos and destruction. To read more of my thoughts on this, you can read my full review here. [Note: I received my copy of The Postmistress for free, but irrespective of this, I would have rated it 4 out of 5 on this blog.]


  1. 02/01/2010

    Well, as perhaps you may know from my review, I thought the writing was not always as lucid as one could hope! :–) It was an interesting premise for a story however.

  2. 02/01/2010

    I read both of your reviews on this one, and it sounds like it’s an emotional read. I have been looking for something like that. I seem to have gotten into a spate of books that either are either emotionally heavy-handed, or are devoid of all emotion whatsoever. This book seems like it has great promise, and since I really devour historical fiction, I am going to try to pick this one up. Great review, Steph! I am also glad that you decided to pick up something that stretches the boundaries of your favored genres, and that it was such a pleasant read for you!

  3. 02/02/2010

    @ rhapsody: Yes, I remembered that you weren’t always charmed by the writing – I actually felt similarly! Sometimes the words certainly sounded nice, but the meaning was not always clear. But overall, I liked it and thought it was a pretty ambitious book that the author more or less carries of successfully.
    @ zibilee: I think given your propensity for historical fiction that you would probably like this one a good deal. It’s not maudlin or overdone, which I think is much to its credit!

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