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Chocolat by Joanne Harris

Review by SS

This is not really a fantasy book (and I'm sure most of you have read the book or seen the movie, anyway) but it does have some magical elements to it and besides, I liked it *l*

The World
A little French town, population about 200 or so, where everyone knows everything and everyone. They are Christian, proper, and suspiscious of any outsiders and strangers. It seems very nice and polite on the surface, but is full of old secrets and history....as these places often seem to be.

The Plot
Vianne Rocher and her daughter Anouk are eternal travellers, and decide to stop at this town. They have their own background too (what are they running from) but Vianne is determined to become part of the community. She sets up a choclate shop, La Praline soon gets involved in the lives of townspeople. The priest, Reynauld, is a fanatic who wants to see her conform or leave.

The Characters
Vianne, her daughter Anouk. Guilliame, a gentle old man. Armande, a witch-y old woman who is determined to live her life the way -she- wants to. Reynauld, the fanatical priest. Roux, one of the river-gypsies. Even though Vianne is obviously the main character, these others (especially Reynauld) play a big part and are fascinating to read.

Comments
I absolutely loved Chocolat! Her writing style is very beautiful and picturesque, and very original with her descriptions. The characters are vivid and loveable, and the plot is very well structured, with lots of mystery and always enough excitement to make you want to turn the page -now-. I thought maybe she could have explained more at the end, but maybe if she'd done that it would have affected the fairy-tale-ness of the book. I think it's definitely worth a read.

4.5 amulets. Because I think it should have been ASoIaF-sized.....


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