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Peaches for Monsieur le Curé – Joanne Harris

Posted in Contemporary Fiction, Literary Fiction on June 15th, 2012 by admin – 4 Comments

Peaches for Monsieur Le Cure: Chocolat 3

Published
24/05/2012

Publisher
Doubleday

My Rating – fabulous 5 stars!

Peaches for Monsieur le Curé is the perfect antidote for a typically British Summer (wet and dismal!) as you’re immediately swept to the sultry setting of Paris in August.  A voice from the past returns to haunt Vianne Rocher, now living on a houseboat with Roux and her children, Anouk and Rosette.  It is eight years since she left Lansquenet in the South West of France and she “seems” to be settled and happy but something is calling her back and, after all, “What harm could it do?”.

Readers who have shared the trials and tribulations of Vianne’s stormy life from Chocolat to The Lollipop Shoes will be equally enthralled by this latest instalment.   Our story takes place during the month of Ramadan, beginning with the sighting of the new moon and the return of Vianne to Lansquenet.  There are two narrators, Vianne and her arch-enemy, Reynaud, the village curate.  The passing years seem to have mellowed Vianne and she keeps a low profile in the village.  Once she was the threatening newcomer, the one who shook the foundations of this sleepy village but new tensions are emerging with the growth of a Muslim community.  What follows is a thrilling narrative with two communities thriving on their own fear and ignorance.  Reynaud is no longer the golden boy but will Vianne forgive and forget past grievances?

I loved Peaches for Monsieur le Curé and only wish that every book I read had  the same power to transport me elsewhere in the midst of characters so vivid I feel I know them.  Joanne Harris weaves a seductively spellbinding narrative exploring what makes any community tick – our fear of the unknown, how easily prejudices take root spreading unease and tension.   She’s not afraid to tackle  the controversial subject of the niqab, the face veil which was banned by the French government in 2011.  Indeed “Peaches” certainly provides a lot of food for thought!  If you enjoyed Chocolat and The Lollipop Shoes you will relish this latest story and we can all live in hope that we haven’t heard the last of Vianne and her family.

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