This morning I was able to immerse myself in a brand new book, and imagine my joy on this Monday to find it was one of “those” books -the kind with a story so powerful and writing so beautiful that you’re sucked inside immediately, the kind that you want to shout about from the rooftops but also want to keep as your own special secret. At the heart of it are three women, one a radio reporter in London, one a young wife in a small seaside town in Massachusetts, the other a middle aged spinster who is the “title character.” At the core of it is the Second World War, and the author whisks the reader back to that particular time and place with the sure swiftness of a time machine set on stun.
The book is called The Postmistress, by Sarah Blake. Here’s just a snippet to whet your appetite…
A woman heading into the Liverpool Street shelter, carrying her baby and-improbably-the baby’s heavy wooden cradle, looked backward over her shoulder at Frankie as she descended into the dark. Frankie stopped short. Many people went down into shelters like this, before the sirens sounded, to get a good spot – a corner spot – an elderly woman had explained to Frankie last week, is what you’re after. The woman with her baby looked back at Frankie standing there on the pavement, long enough for Frankie to see the dull blonde hair tied back with a black ribbon, and the collar of her sweater sagging slightly where she had lost weight.
And not for the first time, Frankie wished she could return to this spot in the morning to make sure the woman and her baby were rising back up into the day, just to know they had slept and woken and would carry on. Just to know the next part.