Sunday, July 31, 2016

July Book Report: Chocolat

July seems to be the high point of my summer reading season, a month that finds me sitting on the front porch reading a book in every spare moment that I can find.  It’s summer, so there is a good amount of spare moments, sometimes enough to make an hour or two.  That means that there were several books that could have been this month’s book report.

I chose Chocolat by Joanne Harris.

There is a film based on this book and it’s charming.  The book itself is even more pleasing.  It’s the story of a beautiful stranger, Vianne, and her young daughter.  Together, they turn up in the small French town of Lansquenet just as the Lenten season has begun.  Vianne sets to work creating a small chocolate shop in the center of drab Lansquenet; the village brightens up as fascination with the shop takes hold.  

There is a bit of magic in the chocolates being made and served by Vianne.  The village priest resists and resents the pleasures of the shop.  But many of the townspeople give in to the temptations.  In a cup of chocolate or a slice of gateaux, they find greater happiness with one another.  Vianne and her daughter find community and friendship.  Vianne begins to understand the demons that have made her something of a drifter.  

And then there are the descriptions of the chocolate, so vivid that I could smell the shop as I read the story.  The book is best enjoyed with a little chocolate in the house; better yet, if that chocolate is a handmade treat that you share with your loved ones.

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