“Sequel to the classic 'Chocolat'.
Things have moved on in the eight years since Vianne left the French village of Lansquenet. There’s now quite a community of Muslims, who seem to be involved in various feuds. A young a man, who married one of the girls, is trying to insist that they should wear the traditional veils... yet he seems very progressive in other ways. And then there’s the woman in black, Ines, who was running a school for Muslim girls until it was burned down...
While the story is mainly written from Vianne’s perspective, there are some sections written from the point of view of priest Father Reynaud, who has been accused of arson. Both accounts are in the first person, which confused me slightly at first. It works well, and gives good insight into their minds, along with the growing realisation that they are not so different after all.
As with ‘Chocolat’, there’s a mystical element running through - Vianne can see people’s colours, get a sense of what they’re thinking, and has an almost magic way of making chocolate. There's some suspense too, making it difficult to put the book down at times. However, although some of Joanne Harris’s books have been really too dark for my taste, this one felt much lighter overall.
It’s a long book, well over 500 pages, and took me a while to get into, but the writing is excellent and overall I liked it very much. I would certainly recommend reading this as a sequel to ‘Chocolat’; although it stands alone, there are many references to prior events, and Vianne’s relationship with Reynaud would be much harder to understand without having read the first book. ”
Sue F wrote this review Monday, April 1, 2013.