Friday, March 19, 2010

The Postmistress

Newly published, I've read about 100 pages of this book and I begrudge the time that I spend away from it. I am thoroughly enjoying it. Beginning in 1940 it portrays the effect that the war is having on both sides of the Atlantic. An American woman in London is helping to broadcast a daily report on the bombing of London whereas the various inhabitants of a small town on Cape Cod hear the broadcasts. Emphasis is on the women characters and from the back cover I know that among the threads of the story is the effect of holding back a letter which has been entrusted for delivery.

I always wonder when books are not set in the lifetime of the author how accurately the past has been portrayed. All the small details which form the backdrop of the story. For example, in this book I was brought to a halt by a reference to a zipper in a man's pants. An Englishman in  1940  London? I am fairly sure that in Australia it was a post-war phenomenon - the influx of American servicemen into Australia mid-way through the war brought trouser zippers to the attention of Australians. Google searches tell me that they were in use in England as well as America. But were they in everyday use or just in the upper end of the market at that stage ?

A fascinating book and one I am sure which will be added to many Book Group lists.

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