I read Chocolat back in 2011 and I LOVED it (looking on Good Reads, it’s one of my higher rated books.) I loved the plot, the characters, how it wasn’t like the movie but it was surprisingly better (I’m one of these people that if I see the movie first I usually prefer it over the book as a rule of thumb), just everything so when I found out that it had not one but TWO sequels, they have a lot to live up to.
The first in of the two sequels to Chocolat is The Lollipop Shoes (or The Girl with No Shadow as it was published in the US). It is set five years after the first novel, Vianne Rocher has moved from Lansquenet to Paris with her daughter Anouk. She now has another 4 year old child named Rosette, who cannot speak (or chooses not to) and her totem is a monkey called Bam (just like Anouk has Pantoufle, a rabbit). They live above another chocolate shop but this time there is no magic. Vianne is trying to fit in with society and throughout the course of the book, we learn why. The book starts at Halloween & ends at Christmas, a period when their lives are turned upside down by Zozie de l’Alba and her Lollipop shoes.
I have to admit, I have never ever hated a character as much as I hated Zozie de l’Alba. I really really despised her and not once throughout the whole novel did I ever pity her, or see things from her point of few, she was just evil and Harris did so well at depicting that. I think it was her intention for her to be hated as it made Anouk & Vianne even more likable. I could see Vianne’s reason for wanting to tone down their branch of witchcraft, especially now I’m a mother myself. Zozie on the other hand, urgh. But not once did it make me want to put the book down, she was the perfect antagonist to Vianne’s protagonist.
There is always a point in a book that I reach and I know after that point it’s a race to the end (in all good books at least) and once I reached that point, which happened less than half way through the book, I just could not put it down. I needed to know what happened, how it was going to turn out. It was such a page turner for me!
Anyway, I don’t want to ruin it for anyone but I recommend BOTH Chocolat & The Lollipop Shoes and I plan to ask for the third installment for my birthday in March since I have another 6 unread books on my shelf to get through before I buy anymore.
My favourite quote in the novel was from Roux
“As for Rosette…” He picked her up and held her so that her face was almost touching his own. “She’s my little girl. And she’s perfect.“
I think I love this quote more because I’m a mother myself and I know now that is how parents think, regardless of your child’s faults you see them as perfect. I think I even shed a couple of tears. I’m sure if I was Vianne, in that moment I would not down Roux’s ability to be a parent.
I 100% urge you to give Joanne Harris a go, she’s just suddenly become one of my favourite authors. Her writing style is spellbinding and captivating. And although this would technically fall into the chic lit category, it has a way of being so UN-chic lit. But then again, I’m a sucker for any books set in Paris..
Now reading… The Fault in Our Stars by John Green