I normally write about films, but, being one who hates being boxed in and this still being a fledgeling blog, I wanted to follow my compulsion to write about some of my favourite books. Henceforth, here is my first book post.
Most people have heard of Chocolat by Joanne Harris, read it, and/or at watched the film adaptation, starring Juliette Binoche and Johnny Depp. I watched the film quite late after it’s release, in 2005, really enjoyed it and then bought the book (usually the other way round for me), which is even better. When I realised that there was a sequel, The Lollipop Shoes was duly bought. Then, in 2012, the third novel was released, Peaches for Monsieur le Cure and I bought it ‘hot off the press’.
Chocolat follows Vianne (who lives like a traveller, going where the wind takes her) and her daughter, Anouk, who end up in the village of Lansquenet in the South-West of France. They ruffle the feathers of the villagers by opening a chocolate shop during Lent. Vianne also raises eyebrows with her free-spirited approach to parenting. Their presence, along with Vianne’s divine chocolates, has a strange effect on people, bringing out their personalities and desires. Will Vianne settle in Lansquenet and will the villagers accept her?
In the sequel, The Lollipop Shoes, we find Vianne and Anouk living in the Montmartre, Paris. Vianne opens a new chocolate shop. She also has had another daughter, Rosette, since the first novel. A mysterious stranger, Zozie, turns up in their lives. Zozie is charismatic and seemingly kind, but her intentions are far from good. Tired, confidence lost and fed up of moving from place to place, how will Vianne deal with this threat to her family?
Peaches for Monsieur le Cure sees Vianne and her daughters return to Lansquenet, after Vianne receives a letter from an old adversary. Things have changed in the village since she left and new troubles have been stirring. Can Vianne help her old friends in Lansquenet?
I could not put these books down. I feverishly read each one and literally could not wait to read them again. Beautifully descriptive, Joanne Harris has created such wonderful characters that you cannot help, but fall for them, even Monsieur le Cure!
I particularly love The Lollipop Shoes. The book ensnares you from the start and has the tone and pace of a modern fairytale for grown-up’s. Departing more into fantasy than Chocolat, I feel the author has written the book she always wanted to. Having holidayed in France as a child, I really feel the warmth for this wonderful country exuding from these books and accuracy in it’s depiction of village life.
To sum these books up, they are a joy to read. If you get as fed up with chick-lit and formulaic thrillers as I do, give these wonderful stories a try. I hope you fall in love with them too.