September 2016
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Chocolat, Joanne Harris

A young woman and her daughter come to a small French town to set up a small chocolate shop.  They are not Christians in a town full of them, and they meet with a great deal of prejudice, but still manage to set the lives of the people in the town in a whirlwind.

The best description for me is that this book was cute.  It was enjoyable, deftly written, with likable characters.  I enjoyed the effect Vianne and Anouk had on the townspeople and particularly their interactions with Reynaud, the priest. I also liked his journal entries and the differences of perspective, although I didn’t at first, and I think it was a great way of introducing back story and motive without burdening the central narrative.  There was a certain lack of substance, perhaps related to the transience of the two main characters since they are prevented from forming any relationships that feel lasting.  Perhaps that stopped some of the emotional investment in the little town and its vulnerable inhabitants.

Regardless, I liked it.  I would probably recommend it to my friends if they were looking for something light, perhaps like a piece of reading chocolate.

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2 comments to Chocolat, Joanne Harris

  • I didn’t like this one. It was, as you said, enjoyable to read but the ending narked me – I couldn’t believe that the priest was just going to completely change out of the blue and make Vianne be right all along. It felt like the author hadn’t challenged herself at all, which in a book which is about – among other things – paganism kinda hurt my hed. It’s too damn easy :/

  • Meghan

    You’d probably like the sequel more, it’s darker and definitely has more of a struggle to it. Vianne is no longer the wonder woman, which I particularly liked, because she does get irritating and I like more realistic characters. Should be released fairly soon, but it’s probably better if you look in the library rather than a bookstore.