After I finished reading The Lollipop Shoes by Joanne Harris I was in two minds about reading her next book about Vianne Rocher Peaches for Monsieur Le CurÃ©, but as I’d reserved it from the library and spurred on by other reviews I decided to read it. I was hoping I would like it more than The Lollipop Shoes.
From the book jacket:
When Vianne Rocher receives a letter from beyond the grave, she has no choice but to follow the wind that blows her back to the village in south-west France where, eight years ago, she opened up a chocolate shop. But Vianne is completely unprepared for what she finds there.Women veiled in black, the scent of spices and peppermint tea, and there, on the bank of the river Tannes, facing the square little tower of the church of Saint-Jerome, like a piece on a chessboard – slender, bone-white and crowned with a silver crescent moon – a minaret.
Nor is it only the incomers from North Africa that have brought big changes to the community. Father Reynaud, Vianne’s erstwhile adversary, is now disgraced and under threat. Could it be that Vianne is the only one who can save him?
Peaches for Monsieur Le CurÃ© is a diluted version of Chocolat; it is too long and drawn out for the story line. It’s told from two viewpoints, that of Vianne and Father Reynaud, but I found that this resulted in too much ‘telling’, too much explanation and repetition. This means that the storyline gets padded out with too much detail. It became predictable and I wanted it to end before it actually did. I read on to the end because I wanted to know what happened. Although I hadn’t foreseen the detail I had foreseen the end.
I should like it more than I did, because it is so similar to Chocolat, covering many of the same themes: fear of the outsider, religious conflict, intolerance and prejudice, with issues of gender and race. It’s also about how people interact and how their lives intersect and above all about the importance of communication, love, and understanding and respecting the others’ point of view. But, the magic is missing for me.