Chocolat by Joanne Harris | Book Review | oven & inkOne of my favorite books is Joanne Harris’ Chocolat. I’ve never seen the movie, but I have read the book several times.* I love the way Harris writes, creating a world full of secrets and subtle magic that is timeless and rich.

The story begins on the day before Lent, when Vianne Rocher and her 6-year-old daughter, Anouk, arrive in a small French town ruled strictly by the church. Vianne opens a chocolate shop in town, to the horror of Pere Reynaud, the parish priest. Tensions rise as Lent progresses, gypsies arrive on the shores of the town, and Vianne forms relationships with the townspeople. It culminates in a chocolate festival that Vianne plans for Easter Sunday – directly taking on Pere Reynaud and the church. It is a really lovely book in which love and warmth contrast with cold and austerity. Harris’ descriptions bring Vianne and her chocolates to life, so at times you’ll find your mouth watering and your mind wandering to the piece of chocolate that is in closest proximity to your mouth.

I bought a great used copy at Half-Priced Books years ago and it still lives happily on the shelf of my bookcase, ready to be picked up when I’m craving something sweet and delicious.

*For more on how I feel about books that are made into movies, read this.


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