Tuesday, April 5, 2011

I Apologize, but it's True

Sometimes I should stop and give myself a twenty-four hour cooling off period before recommending a book as a newly acquired read. You'd think I'd have learned that by now, huh? Well, I haven't, but I'm woman enough to admit it. I wish I hadn't put the cover here, to the left of what you're reading, but I did it in good faith.

Have I mentioned having wanted to design book jackets when I was a young artist? If not, then I confess here and now. I still get aggravated when covers end up not working for the story. I've also fallen in love with a few. And maybe that's what happened here with The Postmistress.

I just knew the book would be as lovely as the cover. How could I be so wrong? It felt . . . Finding the book felt serendipitous! It was meant to be the perfect second book featured here. I even have ink that comes close to matching the color of that rose, dang it! And those letters. My-my-my!

This is my review of Sarah Blake's book, and before you glance over it, please remember that I feel bad about what I said, but what I said is also true. The words are MY feelings, although I've quoted Blake twice in my journal. Those quotes were the best parts of the book for me. Okay, here goes . . .

I wish I hadn't given my precious time to this book. Since I'm a believer-in and promoter-of writing letters that require paper, ink, and postage, I just knew The Postmistress would be a lovely read enhanced by tits winning cover. It just wasn't meant to be. Not for me anyway.

I couldn't connect with, or relate to any of the characters. The author failed to make me care about her characters, or the story, and it's a shame. Tonight I cannot recall a single name or place from the book. It's meant to be a story about what led up to America's entering the second world war. In my opinion it fell far short and flat. A week after finishing it I still don't understand why the letter wasn't given to the intended recipient. I don't understand or even like the main characters. 

Maybe I lost the thread between the different narrators. Maybe I wasn't Sarah Blake's intended audience, although anything about what went on in Europe before, during, and after the Holocaust gets my attention. I wanted to care for the poor souls who suffered but none of them felt real. Somehow I couldn't care.

I didn't give examples of my disappointment. I made a conscious decision not to. I've been critiqued as an artist and as a writer. I know how words can cut, cripple budding or established talent. They can also coax you into admitting your own shortcomings, and make you want to do better. In fact, I would like to do better here and now. I want to make a gift of Blake's work to someone else who loves to write letters, instead of throwing it in the cow pasture. I don't have a cow pasture. But, if you want it, it can be yours. And, I am willing to bet someone else will like it.

Then, after you've finished reading The Postmistress, you have my permission to write me a lovely letter. In it you may tell me why you liked it. You might want to call me a few choice words, but I'm asking that you don't. Instead, I want you to remember that I gave you a free book; I bought a mailer, and I shipped it to you for free.

Write a letter & read a book!


  1. Really, Limner? You'll send it my way? Maybe when you see where I live you'll change your mind.

    I'd like to send a book in return: what are your reading tastes? (Shall I send my own little book of letters, written in 2007?)

    I've been wanting to read The Postmistress for ages--yes, I admit it was the cover that drew me in!--and your review piqued my interest. I'll certainly let you know what I thought, and if I don't like it, I, too, shall offer it to the next reader.

    EMP in Canada, eh?

    P.S. Let me know if you want my postal address.

  2. EMP, it's yours! :) It wouldn't matter if you lived on a small island in the middle of an ocean I've never heard of. I send mail and packages to Canada, Australia, New Zealand . . . Send me your address and I'll let you know as soon as I leave TP at the post office.

    And, yes, I'd like to have a copy of your book of letters. Thank you for offering. Oddly enough, I hope you'll love "The Postmistress." Or at least enjoy it.

    Wait. I recognize your name now, Elaine! You're the winner from one of the blogs I like. LOL! You are on a roll. Congrats again.

    This Limner

  3. Yes, I do seem to be on a roll, eh? What a winning season I've had. First the tulips notecards at Carla's 365 Letters (I see she featured you today--good taste, I say!) and then Angelia's cards, and now your book. Wow. Feels like my birthday. Or something. Thanks!

  4. Oh, here's my address:

    Elaine M. Phillips
    P.O. Box 8001
    Cochrane RPO
    305–1st Street
    Cochrane, AB T4C 2J7
    Canada, eh?

  5. I completely agree with you. The book cover gave a false illusion to how the book played out. To put it bluntly... IT STUNK!

  6. Thank you, Raquel! I wonder what made it a NYT best seller? I'm beginning to think an author's agent can rent the label.

    What are you reading now? I finished The Oracle of Stamboul last week. Started Cutting for Stone a few nights ago.

    Happy reading and reviewing!

    This Limner