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
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
USA Today - Michael Jacobs
Joanne Harris may have created the perfect diet book in her debut
novel, Chocolat, a bittersweet confection that's light on plot
but satisfying....The novel tries to be profound about life and death,
but the pleasure comes from the food...delicious enough to satisfy any
sweet tooth and spare you the calories of dessert.
The New York Times Book Review - Nancy Willard
Magic abounds in Harris' novel....The gods of legend may dine well in their celestial palaes, but the true sorcery of cooking cannot take plalce unless the cook and the guests are mortal. This paradox of the human condition is surely one of the messages of Harris' book.
The Wall Street Journal - Kate Flatley
English-French author Joanne Harris's first U.S.-published novel, Chocolat, is as sweet, rich and utterly satisfying as a fine truffle. Dieters beware: Ms. Harris's lush prose drips with mouth-watering descriptions of cocoa confections that could melt even the most resolute of wills.
People Magazine, Megan Harlan
An irresistible confection....explores the struggle between good and evil...but ultimately celebrates...indulgence.
The Literary Review - Sophia Watson
This is a truly excellent book, one of the best it has been my pleasure to read in the line of duty for years. Joanne Harris achieves everything a novelist should aim for, with no sense of effort or striving...Harris's achievement is not only in her story, in her insight and humour and the wonderful picture of small-town life in rural France, but also in her writing...In short, this is what we call a rave review.
Premise, prose, and pace all march along capably, but they fail nevertheless to raise the whole above the debilities of heavy symbolism and excruciatingly precious plot.
The battle lines between church and chocolate are drawn by this British (and part French) author in her appealing debut about a bewitching confectioner who settles in a sleepy French village and arouses the appetites of the pleasure-starved parishioners.... Vianne never quite comes to life, but her child, Anouk, is an adorable sprite, a spunky six-year-old already wise to the ways of an often inhospitable world. Gourmand Harris's tale of sin and guilt embodies a fond familiarity with things French that will doubtless prove irresistible to many readers.
Recent Reader Reviews
Rated of 5
by Denise As delicious as the Book's Title From the description of the mother and daughter coming into town on the north wind, I know I was in for a reading treat. This was the first I read by Joanne Harris and I've read every one of hers since then. Her writing and her characters are a joy.
Written in a lush, lyrical style, infused with the flavors and scents of Middle Eastern food, and spiced with history and fable, Crescent is a sensuous love story and a gripping tale of risk and commitment. The reading guide includes a number of recipes to share with friends and family!
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