Author: Joanne Harris
“Greeted as “an amazement of riches … few readers will be able to resist” by The New York Times, Chocolat is an enchanting novel about a small French town turned upside down by the arrival of a bewitching chocolate confectioner, Vianne Rocher, and her spirited young daughter.”
This was a cute book. I can’t describe it any other way. Like a piece of grocery store chocolate, it was quick and tasty but ultimately forgettable in the long run.
The writing was nice and distinct. It was told through two perspectives. Vianne Rocher the protagonist, chocolatier and, I guess, witch? And Pastor (Pere) Reynaud the high-strung, near violent priest of the village she settled into. I could clearly tell which voice belonged to who, which is a plus, even though I found Pastor Reynaud’s POV more interesting because he was insane pretty much. Reynaud was both believable and unbelievable and the same time for the same reason. Only would an aggressive nutjob use religion as a crutch to find evil in something as innocuous as chocolate. But it’s always nice to get some insight and backstory of the crazies.
Vianne’s POV was nice. The author never fully flat out said if she was a witch or not but she and her daughter Anouk had the power to know things and influence people. I liked her as a character and the chocolate descriptions were lovely. In inspired my stomach so much that I looked up a local chocolate shop on Yelp.
There was a lot of sweetness in the story as well. Vianne’s touch of magic brought together Armande and her grandson and gave Josephine the strength to leave her husband. The conflict of Reynaud trying to do his best to destroy the chocolate shop in the name of God was strange and much preferred the river boat subplot. It had a bit more drama and was felt more realistic. However, Reynaud’s fixation on the chocolate shop might have been a way for the reader to gain insight on how unhinged he was.
In comparison to another book of magic and food Like Water for Chocolate, the writing wasn’t as mystical and the food wasn’t as vital to the character but I still enjoyed it. It was nice but nothing groundbreaking or life changing. 3 stars and I wouldn’t stop anyone from picking it up.