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Chocolat : a novel
2000
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Fiction/Biography Profile
Awards
1999 - Whitbread Award for Best Novel nominee
Characters
Vianne Rocher (Female), Confectioner, Widow, Single mother, Gentle; wanderer; daughter of a witch; has two daughters
Francis Reynaud (Male), Priest, Pious; self-righteous
Armande Voizin (Female), Sorcerer, Mother, Able to see Vianne's true nature
Genre
Suspense
Magic realism
Cinematization
Fiction
Topics
Sin
Guilt
Temptation
Lent
Good vs. evil
Chocolate
Setting
Lansquenet-sous-Tannes, France - Europe
Large Cover Image
Trade Reviews

  Publishers Weekly Review

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. Young widow Vianne Roche's mouthwatering bonbons, steaming mugs of liqueur-laced cocoa and flaky cream-filled patisserie don't earn her a warm welcome from the stern prelate of Lansquenet-sous-Tannes. In Francis Reynaud's zeal to enforce strict Lenten vows of self-denial, he regards his sybaritic neighbor with suspicion and disdain. Undaunted, Vianne garners support from the town's eccentrics, chiefly Armande Voizin, the oldest living resident, a self-professed sorceress who senses in Vianne a kindred spirit. A fun-loving band of river gypsies arrives, and a colorful pageant unfurls. The novel's diary form‘counting down the days of Lent until Easter‘is suspenseful, and Harris takes her time unreeling the skein of evil that will prove to be Reynaud's undoing. As a witch's daughter who inherited her mother's profound distrust of the clergy, 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. Rights sold in the U.K., Germany, Canada, Sweden, Holland, Spain, Italy, Finland, Denmark, Brazil, Israel, Norway, Greece, the Czech Republic, Poland. (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Summary
Now a major motion picture starring Johnny Depp, Dame Judi Dench and Juliette BinocheIlluminating 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 chocolate festival. 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 holiday.
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