There are very few books that I can recall deliberately taking my time over. If I enjoy a book, I’ll do my damndest to tear through it as quickly as humanly possible – avoiding social engagements and rising at the crack of dawn to curl up and read. However, when it came to Peaches for Monsieur le Cure, the third in the ‘Chocolat’ series, I wanted to savour the novel and immerse myself in Harris’s deliciously descriptive writing – and thus only allowed myself to read a chapter a day.
As expected, Peaches for Monsieur le Cure shows Joanne Harris at her very best. Eight years have passed since Vianne Rocher left behind the cobbled streets of Lansquenet where she faced prejudice and isolation, before winning much of the townsfolk over with her chocolate delights and a hint of magic. Now living on a houseboat in Paris with Roux and her two children Anouk and Rosette, the wind of Ramadan and a letter from beyond the grave prompts her to return to the small French village where it all began.
As prominent a character as Vianne herself, the village of Lansquenet has changed in eight years; the scent of spices fill the air, women are veiled in black niqabs and a minaret stands proudly facing the church of Saint Jerome. And with the church introducing modern elements to its service; power point presentations and plastic pews, Vianne forms an unlikely friendship with her old adversary – Frances Reynaud.
Exploring themes of prejudice, intolerance and religion, Peaches for Monsieur le Cure is an enchanting novel brimming with Harris’s characteristic sensual and evocative writing. With delicate twists in the plot and a rich setting juxtaposing an influx of cultural symbols against the backdrop of a rural French village, Peaches for Monsieur le Cure is a mouth-wateringly beautiful novel that revisits the enchanting Chocolat and the beginning of Vianne’s tale. Fusing lyrical descriptions, enticing scents and just a little bit of magic, Peaches for Monsieur le Cure is the perfect way to say goodbye to some very special characters.