Set in 1916, “The Best Postboy in England” tells the story of a young telegraph boy, Freddie Lovegrove, and Suhani Harkness, an Indian woman married into the British Army. Suhani has three sons, all of whom have been sent to fight in the war in France. As Freddie delivers news to and from the front, he has to confront the fallout of what he thinks is an act of kindness but turns out to have devastating, and tragic, consequences.
I have long been interested in the idea that honesty is not the same thing as truth. When a reality TV judge makes negative comments about an aspiring singer and says “I’m not being rude, I’m just being honest”, what do they mean, and are they right? How do we answer the questions “Did you enjoy my singing?” or “Does this colour suit me?” (or “Does my bum look big in this?”) Do we often avoid the truth in order to express ourselves more kindly? And if so, is this really dishonest or is it the key to sustaining human relationships?
As with all complex questions, there are no simple answers. My intention when writing “The Best Postboy In England” was not to find those answers but to reveal the complexity of the question, and to expose the fallout when, in order to be kind, we lie.