The Postmistress is the book I chose for our Book Club this month and I honestly don't know what reaction/s I am going to get at our discussion next week.
I find it a big responsibility to chose a book for a wide range of people to read - the pressure is on to find something that (hopefully) everyone will enjoy or get something out of in some way. Another consideration was that a condition of our Book Club selection is that the book has to be readily available in our shops - easy to access is a big plus. With those things in mind I chose The Postmistress because it was a fairly new release and it was a book that although I was hearing mixed things about I thought the premise sounded like a story most people could get into in some way - and I was hoping it was a book I would enjoy!
The Postmistress is set during the time of World War 2 just prior to the Americans becoming involved in an active way. In the small Cape Cod town of Franklin we are introduced to Iris James, the local postmistress who at the beginning of the book is on a day trip to Boston for an appointment with a doctor to have her virginity certified - an hilarious and telling opening scene in terms of characterisation. We are also introduced to the young wife who has newly married the doctor in Franklin - Emma Fitch - who comes into contact with Iris on the bus ride back from Boston.
The other main character in the book is Frankie Bard - a female American journalist who is currently in London reporting back on the bombing taking place in the city. It's difficult to see how it will happen but the lives of these three women are brought into contact with each other and it is this contact that plays out one of the major themes in the novel.
After having finished the book earlier this week I find that I am still pondering it and trying to work out what I actually think of it. Ultimately I think it is a well written book with a good backbone - I think the number of characters and the way the story jumped from settings was a little disconcerting for me though. I found myself wanting to stay with Frankie's story in London and Europe more than I wanted to be taken back to Cape Cod. I felt this way even more when I read the author's notes at the end of the book titled "The Story Behind The Story" which describes how she first came up with the idea for the book and the research she did around female journalists and reporters during World War 2.
So, I will see what my Book Club think of this one next week. It was an enjoyable read for me but one that I think will grow on me more after I have heard what others think.