The Lollipop Shoes — Joanne Harris

Book two of the Chocolat series.   I really enjoyed Chocolat. so this is another one of those sequels in the unenviable position of having a lot to live up to.   Did it?   Well, it didn’t do too bad a job.

I would say my only real criticism of it was that it went on for far too long.   Chocolat was a mere 359 pages whereas The Lollipop Shoes is 594 pages, and while reading it one gets the feeling that it could have been trimmed down a fair bit and the story would have benefited.

As i say, that’s my only real criticism.

I certainly enjoyed knowing that there are two further books in this tetralogy, as one can’t be certain how this is going to end.   Is Vianne going to be left high and dry with the further two books dedicated to her fighting back, or is Vianne going to triumph here and now and we’ll move on to some other tale in the next book?   We’re also not even sure who is going to be Vianne at the end of this book as it’s mostly about identity theft and Vianne becoming the target of an identity thieving witch: can chocolate witchery save the day again?

At the end, the only real judgement one can pass on this book is: am i going to read Peaches for Monsieur le Curé?   Not straight away.   As i said, this went on for a bit too long and i have a few other books i’ve been looking forward to reading, but Peaches for Monsieur le Curé is queued up on my Kindle ready to be read at some time in the not too distant future.

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Chocolat — Joanne Harris

I thought i’d take a break away from the Vic Lit and dive into something a little more contemporary, and i wasn’t disappointed.

This one has only been sat in “The Pile” for just 4 months, so it’s jumped the queue by quite a bit (the other books will undoubtedly be feeling a little annoyed).   I came across a really good review of this on social media and i took that as a message that it was time to read it.

So yeah, where to start with a review of this book.   Well, the obvious one is, don’t read this if you’re a devout catholic.   There’s a fair bit of catholic bashing in this book — which one might say is well deserved.

Mostly, this book is a criticism of the old ways of the catholic church and the sanctimonious, holier than though hypocrites who sit in self appointed, holy judgement over us heathens.   And i must say, Joanne does a wonderful job of it, and some might even say, a much needed job considering the recent past.

All in all, a delightful story set in a small French village whose inhabitants were in desperate need of some good chocolate and an alternative view on life: other than the miserable one being suffered at the behest of aforementioned sanctimonious crowd with their church and priest in tow.   And what better way of telling that story than setting up a chocolaterie directly opposite the parish church in the centre of the village.

I especially enjoyed the way Joanne alternates throughout between 2 completely separate protagonists’ narratives from 2 very different opposing protagonists, the chocolatier and the priest, and she makes that work really well, although it does make you pause a little when they swap over on occasion.

At the end the ultimate question of judgement has to be: am i going to read the next books in this series?   Answer: as soon as i get a good price on them at Amazon i’ll definitely be adding them to “The Pile”.   What hope is there for us book addicts as whenever i read one book off “The Pile” and all it does is inspire me to add three more books to it?

Did the book inspire to consume more cocoa products?   No, i already consume too much already. #chocolatelove

Too many good writers and never enough reading time — or chocolate.   All good fun though! 

Joanne’s Page

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