Chocolat – Joanne Harris

Synopsis

A timeless novel of a straitlaced village’s awakening to joy and sensuality – every page offers a description of chocolate to melt in the mouths of chocoholics, francophiles, armchair gourmets, cookbook readers, and lovers of passion everywhere.

Illuminating Peter Mayle’s South of France with a touch of Laura Esquivel’s magic realism, Chocolat is a timeless novel of a straitlaced village’s awakening to joy and sensuality. In tiny Lansquenet, where nothing much has changed in a hundred years, beautiful newcomer Vianne Rocher and her exquisite chocolate shop arrive and instantly begin to play havoc with Lenten vows. Each box of luscious bonbons comes with a free gift: Vianne’s uncanny perception of its buyer’s private discontents and a clever, caring cure for them. Is she a witch? Soon the parish no longer cares, as it abandons itself to temptation, happiness, and a dramatic face-off between Easter solemnity and the pagan gaiety of a chocolate festival.

Chocolat’s every page offers a description of chocolate to melt in the mouths of chocoholics, francophiles, armchair gourmets, cookbook readers, and lovers of passion everywhere. It’s a must for anyone who craves an escapist read, and is a bewitching gift for any holiday.

#bookish #book-review #book-reviewer

My review

‘We came on the wind of the Carnival.’

This wind is the same wind that draws Vianne Rocher and her daughter to the French village of Lansquenet. It is also the same wind that carries mouthwatering scents of all types of delicacies.

Vianne travelled from place to place during her childhood and as she raises her daughter, Anouk, she does the same. This novel is set in Lansquenet, where Vianne opens a boutique chocolaterie. The chocolatarie and its chocolatier are an unwelcome temptation. The townsfolk do not like change and many are devout church goers who see Vianne as a woman lacking morals, due to her non attendance at church, acceptance of new comers to the town, her spiritual beliefs and her store. This store is one that encourages people to take time out to enjoy such edible pleasures in life.

As Vianne and Anouk continue their stay in the rural town, they are up against the likes of an influential priest and a gossiping group of women. Vianne’s character is very likable. As a witch, her senses are heightened. She magically and spiritually has an ability to read people and understands how to help them. Her calm attitude and kindness encourages those who are struggling to accept help for their own happiness. Vianne is a wise character who lives for her daughter and values the road to happiness over all else.

This novel is not simply a story about a lady who opens a store. It is much more. It is about the changes that can be made to a community with a difference of opinion and someone who will stand up for what is right. There were underlying issues, including domestic violence, religious discrimination and racial discrimination. Each issue was dealt with in such a delicate manner, yet questioned society’s opinions. Unfortunately, these issies are still current today.

I particularly loved Armande’s character, an elderly lady who is disrespected by her daughter and made to feel irrelevant. Vianne encourages Armande to connect with her granson Luc and here a beautiful relationship emerges. The importance of our grandparents in our lives is emphasised in the novel. It made me truly consider the people in my life of an older generation. Our connection with our elders is of utmost importance. We must take responsibility to pass on the stories and teachings of those of an older generation to ourselves, respecting their knowledge and view points.

I look forward to reading The Strawberry Thief. I enjoyed the author’s style of writing and scrumptious descriptions. Her first person narrative style was interesting too, as there were two narrators. This gave further insight into the minds of the church and chocolatier.

As I consider the thought provoking nature of this book, I realise that I love the book just as I loved the movie. Winning the competition by @booksontherail and sent by @hachetteaus inspired me to read Chocolat. If you have a sweet tooth like me, read Chocolat – you will love this book.

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

2 thoughts on “Chocolat – Joanne Harris

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