A Novel

Book - 2000
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Even before it was adapted into the Oscar-nominated film starring Juliette Binoche and Johnny Depp, Joanne Harris' New York Times bestselling novel Chocolat entranced readers with its mix of hedonism, whimsy, and, of course, chocolate.

In tiny Lansquenet, where nothing much has changed in a hundred years, beautiful newcomer Vianne Rocher and her exquisite chocolate shop arrive and instantly begin to play havoc with Lenten vows. Each box of luscious bonbons comes with a free gift: Vianne's uncanny perception of its buyer's private discontents and a clever, caring cure for them. Is she a witch? Soon the parish no longer cares, as it abandons itself to temptation, happiness, and a dramatic face-off between Easter solemnity and the pagan gaiety of a chocolate festival. Chocolat 's every page offers a description of chocolate to melt in the mouths of chocoholics, francophiles, armchair gourmets, cookbook readers, and lovers of passion everywhere. It's a must for anyone who craves an escapist read, and is a bewitching gift for any holiday.
Publisher: New York, N.Y., U.S.A. : Penguin Books, 2000, c1999.
ISBN: 9780140282030
Branch Call Number: FICTION Harris Joanne
Characteristics: 306 p. ;,20 cm.


From Library Staff

"Chocolat by Joanne Harris. The movie was so delightful. One of the few times the book was the disappointment. Also Rainbow Six by Tom Clancy. He was clearly phoning it in by then."

From the critics

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Jan 30, 2021

I wanted to love this book. But after couple of chapters, where some people are all saints (liberals) and some people are all evils (conservatives), I thought I had read enough.

CRRL_MegRaymond Feb 06, 2018

A chocolate shop opens across the street from the church, making the villagers uneasy.

Mar 16, 2016

This is a captivating book! It is an easy read filled with emotion and twists and turns. I loved that while I was reading it, my ideas about religion and treating people were brought to the surface. I could not believe the appalling behavior and thoughts of the priest. I loved how he fared in the end.

I am anxiously waiting for the sequel to come to my holds at the Porter branch!

Great book!!!

Jul 09, 2015

Descriptive, captivating and better than the movie.

Mar 03, 2015

“Chocolat” follows the life of Vianne Rocher, a chocolatier, and her daughter Anouk as they settle into a small French town. Vianne quickly opens up a chocolate store, but is met with hostility from the town’s priest. As Vianne’s store begins to pick up business and Vianne herself starts to find friends, the priest’s spite for her only grows. When a group of river travellers arrive, and it seems as though Vianne begins to fall for the handsome traveller Roux, the priest is nearly beside himself with the so-called ‘plague’ she has brought to the small town. So, the priest declares war, and humorous calamities ensue.

This novel is a little slow, but in an enjoyable way. Not too much happens too fast, and the events are spread out in a way that nicely leads up to and prepares the reader for the climax. The characters themselves are interesting and well-rounded, and help to keep the plot moving. The plot itself is humorous and upbeat, but does have darker undertones that make for an enjoyable, multilayered read. The setting is clever and unique, and described in minimal detail, allowing for readers to create their own images and personalities of the town.

Overall, the author of this review does recommend this book. It is not on the top of her list, but it was a fun read. “Chocolat” does have some deeper meanings, but readers would need to squint and stand on their head to really see them. Due to this, “Chocolat” would be a better pleasure read than an essay or ‘book talk’ book. The author of this review believes “Chocolat” to be suitable for ages thirteen and up.

Feb 11, 2013

Luckily I haven't seen the movie of this book for about ten years so the story was all new to me. I was surprised at its depth and intensity especially of the characters. The descriptions of the chocolate and pastries were mouthwatering, it made me want to visit a patisserie.

Aug 09, 2012

I started this book thinking it was going to be a light hearted, fun little story, much like the movie it was made into. I was suprised to find the book had much more emotional depth and the characters were motivated by slightly darker, more realistic desires and weaknesses. Running away from the past is a theme that runs strong throughout the story. There is also a lot about holding on to what you love and letting go of the past. Plus, if you're looking for a guilty pleasure, the parts describing food are amazing. I've never read a book that made my mouth water quite like this one did.

May 31, 2012

Loved the writing style of the book; however, I didn't care for either the book or movie. The movie had 2 notable scenes of love and friendship that were very moving.

Apr 28, 2012

Loved the format and style of the novel. Very different from the movie, and of course much, much better!

AnneDromeda Mar 28, 2011

<p>This book was perfect light reading for troubled times. It has romantic elements without being cloyingly so; there are rich descriptions of chocolate that don't end in an increase in my thigh circumference; and it dabbles in magical realism without devolving into that dementedly cheerful superstitious territory currently covered by much of the witchy chic lit out there. Not to mention, the author holds a much firmer grasp of the proper function of punctuation than most supernatural romance writers. This is good - it results in the book taking far fewer unscheduled flights while I'm reading it.</p>

<p>There are some interesting differences between the book and the movie (a change in time period as well as a change in the ancestry of the main character, Vianne) that might make strong grist for certain book clubs' mills. All in all, though, those who've seen the movie and loved the wistful tone will enjoy the book, as will fans of magical realism. It's the rarest of gems - an <i>intelligent</i> light read.</p>

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