09 April 2013
By Joanne Harris
First published in Great Britain in 2012
by Doubleday a division of Transworld Publishers
Vianne Rocher returns to Lansquenet after receiving a letter from her old friend, Armande. Her old DEAD friend, Armande. Armande believes Vianne should return to Lansquenet as the people there need her. As the wind blows, Vianne returns.
Upon her return, Vianne discovers Lansquenet is not as she had left it. Gone are the days of the river gypsies and Vianne's chocolate shop. There is friction between the Catholics and Muslims; a church bell competing with a call to prayer. Vianne, always the peacemaker, tries to bring the community together with her magical chocolate and her good common sense.
Harris explores the very contemporary topic of different religions trying to co-exist with respect and intelligence. More difficult topics are handled sensitively; the situations never getting to the point where the reader can't take any more. Quite possibly, Harris has many readers questioning their own beliefs or, at the very least, wondering why they can't be more open-minded towards others.
A wonderful book for those who have loved Chocolat and The Lollipop Shoes. An introduction to Harris' brilliance for those picking up one of her novels for the first time.