I haven’t been around again lately – if you saw my last “cakey” post then you’ll know why. Unfortunately my new found venture also means that I have had less and less time for reading (sigh ). In fact, despite longing to read Peaches for Monsieur le Curé for months before it came out, it actually then took me about three weeks to read (instead of the usual three days). But do you know what? I think that just made me love it even more. Picking up this books was such a sumptuous treat and one I couldn’t wait to find half a hour to escape with (whether it be in the bath, while having a rare sit down with a cup of coffee or snuggling down into bed before going to sleep). Seriously, this is what reading is all about. Enjoying a book so much that it feels like a special treat.
It’s no secret that I am a huge Joanne Harris fan. I have raved about her books many a time on this blog and Five Quarters of the Orange is actually one of my all-time favourites. So imagine my delight when I discovered that there was to be a third book in the “Chocolat” series. Chocolat was the first book I read by Harris and I absolutely loved it. The setting in a little French village, the secrets and mysteries and magic – lovely! Although I wasn’t quite as enamoured with The Lollipop Shoes (second in the series) I was still longing to read more of Vianne and Anouk’s travels so when I saw that they were heading back to Lansquenet (the original village that they left 8 years previously) I couldn’t wait to get started.
Vianne recieves a letter from the grave – from Armande whom she befriended in Chocolat - telling her to come back to the village as trouble would be brewing. Vianne, after a little consideration, breezes back in on the wind with Anouk and younger daughter Rosette in tow to find a village on the verge of something: something is brewing in Lansquenet. A muslim community which has been living peacefully among the villagers for the last 8 years is turning away and a mysterious and aloof woman who is veiled from head to toe in black apears to be the one behind it all.
I loved the cover of the book (who could possibly not drool at the sight of those delicious looking peaches – OK there is a pesky wasp on there too and I don’t “do” wasps!). True to form, the descriptions of the peaches straight from the tree and the jam they make from them and the chocolates that Vianne begins to make again and the aromatic moroccon food had me salivating. And what wonderful characters too – I just loved Omi (the old Grandmother who sneaks food during Ramadan) and even Monsieur le Curé himself manages to find his heart in this book (which makes it so much easier for us to loose ours to him). To be honest, although it was like catching up with old friends in this book, even though I had forgotten a lot of the original cast (it’s a long while since I read the first book): I could remember their names but nothing else about them. This means that it would be possible to entirely enjoy this book without having read the other two; having said that you are seriously missing out if you do. I insist that you read them all in order and you will be as richly rewarded as your taste buds will be at every page.
Verdict: A treat. Read it!