The favourite book of: Danielle Gemmel

Danielle Gemmel is a fellow blogger who I discovered through Facebook and have been following for a while. She is an avid reader and a fellow book blogger. You can follow her on www.booksandwords.be or on Facebook and Instagram. She’s a mom of three who taught primary school where she was a real bookish teacher before ending up working in a bookshop. She loves beautiful novels, especially from Santa Montefiore and Jane Austen. Beatrix Potter is another of her favourite authors because of Peter Rabbit which she used to read to her children. Besides novels, she also likes to read thrillers, notably by Agatha Christie and Sophie Hannah.

So I asked her about her favourite book and she gave me two: The Peculiar Life of a Lonely Postman and it’s follow-up The Postman’s Fiancée by French Canadian author Denis Thériault.

The books are about a lonely postman named Bilodo, says Danielle. “To pass the time, he opens letters with steam and reads them. That is how he meets Ségolène who is corresponding with Gaston. They write haikus to each other.” Apparently Gaston is quite good at these love haikus they write to each other. Through their words, postman Bilodo falls in love with Ségolène. “But then something happens that changes their world.”

Before starting a new book, Danielle always takes the time to research the author, which she also did here. She is even in touch with Denis Thériault through Instagram. His first book was The Iguana, which is on Danielle’s to-read list. She likes the way he writes, quite poetically, and he is very good at getting into his characters’ heads. His latest book will soon be released in French: Le Manucure. Danielle read his other books in Dutch, but she plans to read this one in French. Not only to maintain her knowledge of the French language, but also because she feels like books read better in the original language of the writer.

But back to the lonely postman. I also asked Danielle what genre she would place this book in. She told me he writes quite enchantingly. The reader is really pulled into the story. “It’s a rather light-hearted genre but still with a lot depth. She also loved that there’s a lot of poetry featured in the book, mainly haikus and tankas.

And though it’s quite different from what she usually reads, she really enjoyed this book. It’s nicely written and very poetic. Danielle loves the light, funny and yet profound. She says the book made her think about the importance of language and feelings. You can easily and quickly put a lot of big feelings into haikus. To her, they are like drawn short stories.

Next I asked her if there are characters she absolutely loved or, the opposite, couldn’t stand. But it’s not in her character to hate a character because she’s always looking for the deeper meaning of the characters. She quickly felt sympathy towards the main character, even though he’s doing something he shouldn’t. She felt sorry for Bilodo and she could empathise with him. Danielle even noticed she started to crave the letters as well, she needed to know what was in them. She imagined Ségolène as an exotic person, sensing her warmth and sensitivity. And she wouldn’t change a thing about her favourite book! She thought the two stories followed one each other perfectly and stayed in the Japanese culture nicely. Not too much and not too little. The exact right dose of light-heartedness and emotion.

When she first got the book in her hands, the cover immediately stood out. The blossoms reminded her of Japan. She has actually been into Japanese culture for a few years since of one her sons is studying Japanese and is doing his final year in Japan this year. She visited him and has been blogging about that here. In this book, you can really get to know the Japanese culture.

There aren’t too many pages, so you should be able to read it easily in a day or two according to Danielle. She likes to read something short in between all of her bigger books. And when she opened this book, she was immediately swept up into the story. After meeting the lonely postman, you develop sympathy for him. And reading further, you’ll find haikus which are a real asset to the story. She also learned about tankas (the predecessor of haikus). The story is beautiful and simple and reads quickly. She definitely recommends the books!

When she first wrote about these books on her blog, there was immediately a lot of interest. Danielle thinks it’s because it’s an attractive book, both the cover and the story. Do you want to know more about why she loved these books? Then be sure to read her review of them here:

Happy reading,

Loes M.

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