A Mother’s Instinct
The Postcard by Leah Fleming is another masterpiece from a wonderful story-teller. It is an epic tale spanning almost a century. The Postcard deals with love and loss, war and peace, and over it all is the love of mothers.
The action is set over several countries – Scotland, England, Egypt, Germany, Australia to name but a few. Within The Postcard fact meets fiction and is woven into a fabulous novel.
The novel is told in the third person from several viewpoints. The reader really gets to know the characters who are all realistically drawn. Leah Fleming really has a great talent for creating characters that come alive and live inside the reader’s head.
There are several themes in The Postcard but the main one is love. Love will motivate people to do all sorts of things. A mother’s love within the story instinctively reaches out to do what is best for her child, no matter what the personal sacrificial cost to the mother. However children do not always recognise this sacrifice.
Leah Fleming deals with the theme of unmarried mothers. At the beginning of the twentieth century unmarried mothers and their children were seen as outcasts in society. It was not until much later in the century that this stigma was thankfully removed. Consequently unmarried mothers would go to extraordinary lengths to protect their children from being labelled. Mothers put their needs second to that of their children.
Within the story the reader ‘lives’ through the first and second world wars. One ‘sees’ life in both the trenches and the concentration camp. Sheer iron will was needed to survive. The result from both wars was often PTSD, as the horrors that were seen cannot be unseen. The scars of war are not always visible ones. No one lives through war unscathed.
There is the theme of anger within the novel. The abuses done to women and children in the concentration camps can stir up anger in the survivors. However anger and hate can destroy. “To live with hatred is to burn ourselves out from the inside.” Some-how survivors have to let go of this anger to move forwards. It is not to diminish the horrors, but characters cannot flourish if anger grips their hearts.
Within The Postcard Leah Fleming explores the tough subjects of alcoholism and domestic abuse. Both are sensitively tackled. War and experiences can change people and sometimes the only way to cope is to hit the bottle. However escaping into alcohol can have disastrous consequences for those around the person.
The Postcard is a mystery tale – a mystery that spans the whole novel. The novel opens in 2002 with this mystery and then reverts back about ninety years before moving forwards. The end of the novel answers all the reader’s questions.
I absolutely loved The Postcard. Leah Fleming is one of my favourite authors. I know that whatever I pick up by her will be a magnificent story.
If you have never read a novel by Leah Fleming, you are missing out. Choose any one of her novels and you will be in for an absolute treat.