Harris, Joanne. 1999. Chocolat. Penguin. 306 pages.
So. I finished it. Finally. My thoughts? Well, I didn't hate it. But I sure was hoping to like it more than I did. With a name like Chocolat, I expected it to be, well, delicious. And perhaps other readers find it so. Told in alternating voices--a holier-than-thou-priest, Reynaud, and a wicked-worldly woman, a chocolate-maker, Vianne Rocher, the book--set in France--follows the Lenten season from its opening festivals (Fat Tuesday?) through Easter morn. A woman and her young child (complete with an invisible best friend who just happens to be a rabbit) are settling into a new town, a village. Vianne is a wanderer, ever-restless, following the wind. Is this new place the place she'll call home? Will her daughter ever make real friends? As she opens her chocolate shop, she begins to acquaint herself with the going ons of the town--its ins and outs. The reader is introduced to at least half-a-dozen village residents--some become Vianne's closest friends; others become her worst enemies. The book doesn't really have a plot per se unless you count the making, selling, and eating of chocolate to be an adventuresome plot. However, it is rich in characterization. So it's not without merit. Some of the sub-plots intrigued me more than others.
© Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews
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