Monday, September 10, 2012

Audiobook Review: The Postmistress by Sarah Blake

Audiobook reviewed by Christina
(Read Lucia's review of the print version here.) 

Published: 2010

It's about:  Three American women deal with feeling powerless in the face of WWII.  Emma is a young newlywed whose doctor husband cannot disconnect from a patient's death.  Iris is the capable postmistress of a small Cape Cod town called Franklin.  Frankie is a war correspondent in London and, later, Europe.  Their three points of view highlight different experiences of war and tragedy.

I thought:  Not gonna beat around the bush:  I wasn't wild about this audiobook.  Of the three main characters, I was only interested in one of them: Frankie.  Emma's and Iris' lives revolved mostly around romance and waiting for news and holding down the fort.  I didn't feel that their perspectives added anything new to the Women in Wartime body of narratives.  Frankie's story rang true and raw and real to me; I wish she hadn't had to share the book.  And why is it named after Iris?  She is not the driving force- Frankie is.

The reader, Orlagh Cassidy, can't be blamed for my unenthusiastic attitude toward The Postmistress.  Her pacing and expression are excellent, and I like the tone and timbre of her voice.  She was pleasant to listen to, and she did a decent (if imperfect) job with the heavy load of French and German in the text.  I'd be happy to listening to more of her reading.

In comparison to other audiobooks I've listened to, this one is very slow, with an ill-defined plot arc.  More than half way through it still felt like Ms. Blake was laboriously setting things up.  I kept waiting and wondering how the characters related to one another and where the story was going.  There seemed to be a ton of romance (way more than I personally prefer in my fiction) and the deeper themes kept slipping through my fingers.  Part of this could just be my own tendency to forget or gloss over details when I'm listening as opposed to reading.  I think I would have appreciated the slow pace, the themes, the prose, if I had been reading.  But when I'm listening to a book, the story has to be particularly strong.  That just wasn't the case here.   

Verdict: I'll put the audiobook In-Between.  Lucia loved the print version, and I think I would have liked it better in that format.

Warnings: Sex, swears, war crimes.

What I'm listening to nextPride and Prejudice and Zombies by Seth Grahame-Smith