The Peculiar Life Of A Lonely Postman – Denis Theriault
All of 27 years, Canadian Bilodo is an unusual postman. Unlike the other run-of-the-mill postmen in his Depot, Bilodo likes reading books and is practising calligraphy. He hates the impersonal nature of e-mails, and is charmed by old-fashioned, hand-written letters. Whenever he receives a hand-written letter for delivery, he cannot resist the temptation to steam the envelope open and read it. Sometimes, he even replies to some of these letters, through a long-winded hand-written letter of his own. It is in this way that he discovered Segolene, a Guadalupean woman who has been writing regularly to a certain Gaston Grandpre in his locality of work. Bilodo has been reading the letters from Segolene to Gaston for the last two years, and knows that the two have been communicating through haikus. He also knows that Segolene’s haiku are wonderfully evocative, and have the power to recreate the scene she writes about, in the mind’s eye of the reader. Bilodo is in love with Segolene, and eagerly waits for the next letter from her to arrive.
What does Bilodo do about his infatuation with Segolene? Does Gaston ever find out about Bilodo? These questions, and more, are answered in The Peculiar Life Of A Lonely Postman.
Quite an interesting premise, right? I thought so, and that is why I bought this book as soon as I got to know about it. Sadly, though, it turned out to be an extremely disappointing read.
After the initial few pages, the book lost its charm for me. The story turned weird after a point, and Bilodo began to look more and more psychotic. The twists in the story were extremely predictable, and I could make them out long before they took place. The twist at the very end of the book seemed quite forced and unnecessary. I felt that the storyline had great potential to be developed into a very interesting book, but what it is, instead, is a queer story with very predictable turns. I am sorry to say this book is not something I would recommend to you.
The Dressmaker – Kate Alcott
It is the 1920s. Young Tess loves fabrics and threads and colours, and aspires to be a seamstress. She has ample talent in this area, too – her talented mother has taught her how to sew. It is the one way she knows of to escape her dreary poverty-stricken life. However, all the jobs she seems to find require her to be a maid, which she has neither the inclination nor the temperament to become. When she comes to know of the Titanic’s voyage from Southampton, UK, to New York, she sees an opportunity to escape to a new world, where she can try her luck and build a new life. She runs away from the rude madame she is working as a maid for, to find the Titanic ready to set sail.
When Tess notices the famous designer Lady Lucile Duff Gordon on board the ship, she is enchanted. Lady Gordon is her idol, and Tess is ready to do anything to sail on the Titanic with her. When Lady Gordon tells her that the only position open with her is that of a maid, Tess agrees to do even that. However, is Lady Gordon the wonderful person that Tess has always imagined her to be? The sinking of the Titanic sets Tess to ponder this question, and she is puzzled by the varied thoughts she has in this respect. This is what makes up The Dressmaker.
I picked up the book because the premise was so interesting. I didn’t know anything about the Titanic except that it struck against an iceberg and sunk. This book opened up many new dimensions about the ship’s sinking to me. The book itself, however, failed to strike a chord with me. The characters, though interesting, lack depth. The story is told in a way that is extremely lacking in emotion, and fails to touch the readers’ heart. That said, it kept my interest till the very end, because the facts it revealed were entirely new to me.
I found The Dressmaker to be an average historical fiction book. If the story behind the sinking of the Titanic is new to you, like me, you might want to give this book a try. However, if you have already read a lot on the subject and want to read an emotional, in-depth retelling, this book is not for you.
The Charm Bracelet – Melissa Hill
The Charm Bracelet is about single mother Holly, who works in a New York vintage clothes store and absolutely loves it. She is charmed by the history that the clothes possess, and she loves making up stories about the events these clothes would have witnessed, and their owners. She is surprised when she discovers a charm bracelet in the pocket of a beautiful dress that their store receives one day, as part of a donation. As the owner of a special charm bracelet herself, Holly understands how much it would have meant to its owner and that it must have been left in the dress by mistake. She vows to find the owner and return the bracelet. She soon discovers, however, how difficult a task she has undertaken. There is no way she can directly reach the owner, and must find her through the clues the various charms on the bracelet provide. How Holly goes about the task of trying to locate the bracelet’s owner makes up the major chunk of the book.
Parallel to Holly’s story is that of Greg’s, a stock broker-turned-photographer. To find out how Greg’s story intertwines with that of Holly’s, you have to read the book!
I found The Charm Bracelet a pleasant read, though a bit long-winded. The stories behind the charms on Holly’s bracelet and that of the mystery woman are enchanting and make for a lovely read. Holly is a sweet character, one you would want to know in real life. Greg’s character, though, comes across as selfish and way too self-absorbed to take rational decisions. The book is pure chick-lit, and the twists the story takes are extremely movie-like and unbelievable, far removed from reality. The twist at the very end seems quite forced and unnatural, as if put there just for the sake of putting it in.
The book made me fall in love with charm bracelets, and now, I want one of my own – one with my significant life stories depicted on it. It also made me fall in love with the city of New York, a place I want to visit with all my heart now, especially around Christmas time.
All in all, it is a fluffy book that you can read on chilly days, if you are willing to put your brain aside for a while. It is not a great read as such, but not a completely hopeless one either.
This was my first Melissa Hill book, and I am definitely going to pick up more by the author.