To Iris, Harry's story is more vital than anything happening in Europe. To Emma, holding on to a story is more important than real life. And to every character in the book, any particular story hinges heavily on its context. Perhaps that is why Sarah Blake arranges for an aging Frankie Bard to bookend her novel. The author lets us in on some secrets in the final pages, where she permits Frankie to address the reader directly:
"A story like a snapshot is caught, held for a moment, then delivered. But the people in it go on and on. And what happens next? What happens?
The story knew."
Sarah Blake knows, too—and The Postmistress is her poignant way of showing us.
Bethanne Patrick is a freelance book reviewer and host of "The Book Studio" for WETA-PBS.