Saturday 24 November 2012
Peaches for Monsieur le Cure by Joanne Harris
I've been excited about Peaches for Monsieur Le Cure ever since I heard it mentioned on Twitter months ago. Joanne Harris is a big favourite of mine and the most exciting thing about this book for me is that it's a sequel to Chocolat and The Lollipop Shoes, both of which I really really enjoyed. Centering around Vianne Rocher and her children Anouk and Rosette, the priest of the title is Father Francis Reynaud, who was pretty much Vianne's nemesis in Chocolat. In the novel Vianne returns to Lansquennet, the setting of Chocolat, following a letter from an old friend, and finds the village very different. The old villagers, many of them familiar characters to readers of Chocolat, feel threatened by the growth of the Muslim community, and especially by the arrival of a mysterious and enigmatic woman.
It's not going to be surprising that I loved this book. Although similar in tone to its' prequels, Peaches for Monsieur Le Cure is more mature in many ways. Whereas in the previous two novels Vianne was very unsettled; always ready to move on and run away at the slightest hint of threat, here she is the one returning to a place where she once was happy, wondering if it could become home again. And she is once again being called on to fix certain situations. There was less magic in this novel than in the previous two, and less chocolate, and I did miss both but not to an extent that really affected my enjoyment of the book. The character of Vianne in the novels draws people to want to be around her, and she does the same with me as a reader. She is a character that I always want to know more about. Because so little of her backstory is ever revealed I continually feel that there's more to be discovered. I also loved how Harris took a character (in the priest) whom I had disliked quite strongly in Chocolat and made him pretty much the hero of the novel. It takes quite a bit for me to change my mind about a character, but I really did in this case. I kind of loved him by the end.
Basically this is very incoherent and a bit of a babble, but it's the first review I've written since baby having and I still have a serious case of baby brain. Also my every move is haunted by jumping at the slightest sound and worrying about how much time I have before the baby wakes up.... But I miss blogging a lot and I always promised myself I wouldn't let the baby make me give up altogether, so there we go. Seriously shortened and slightly incoherent review, but it's still a review!