Buy this book at
To Past Reviews Index
Back to Last Page


Joanne Harris

Average Review Rating Average Rating 7/10 (1 Review)
Book Details

Publisher : Black Swan

Published : 1999

Copyright : Joanne Harris 1999

ISBN-10 : PB 0-552-99893-1
ISBN-13 : PB 978-0-552-99893-2

Publisher's Write-Up

Try me... Test me... Taste me...

When an exotic stranger, Vianne Rocher, arrives in the French village of Lansquenet and opens a chocolate boutique directly opposite the church, Father Reynaud identifies her as a serious danger to his flock - especially as it is the beginning of Lent, the traditional season of self-denial. War is declared as the priest denounces the newcomer's wares as the ultimate sin.

Suddenly Vianne's shop-cum-cafe means that there is somewhere for secrets to be whispered, grievances to be aired, dreams to be tested. But Vianne's plans for an Easter Chocolate Festival divide the whole community in a conflict that escalates into a 'Church not Chocolate' battle. As mouths water in anticipation, can solemnity of the Church compare with the pagan passion of a chocolate eclair?

For the first time here is a novel in which chocolate enjoys its true importance. Rich, clever and mischievous, 'Chocolat' is a literary feast for all senses.

'Mouthwatering... a feelgood book of the first order... your senses are left reeling. Read it.'


'Is this the best book ever written? Truly excellent... Harris's achievement is not only in her story, in her insight and humour and the wonderful picture of small town life in rural France, but also in her writing.'

Literary Review
Column Ends


Reader Reviews

Why not Submit a Review your own Review for this book?

Review by Chrissi (310701) Rating (7/10)

Review by Chrissi
Rating 7/10
It seems a bit unfair of me not to give this a huge score, but whilst a nice read, it left me a bit cold. I think part of the problem was that so many people told me that it was brilliant that it was kind of an anticlimax when I got around to reading it for myself.

It is a charming story, whimsical, about a woman and her daughter who arrive in a small town in France and decide to stay there. Joanne Harris has a gift for description, most certainly, and the relationships that she paints are beautifully done, but it is a bit on the twee side of life for me.

The characters she speaks of are each understandable in their own way, even the much maligned priest who feels that his flock are being led from the one true path, and horror-of-horrors, at Lent, too.

The story is beautifully laid out, stretching as it does over the period between the religious festivals of Lent and Easter, with the characters beautifully and colourfully depicted, gypsies and wife beaters alike.

But, while set in France, it seemed as though it could have been almost anywhere, but about fifty years ago. It has that quirky, almost timeless quality.

I have had several people who have said that Blackberry Wine is better, but Chocolat, while a read that is memorable, left me slightly melancholy. It is a shame, because there are some really nice images that it conjures up for me, but I can't shake the feeling that I missed something essential to the enjoyment of this book.
Chrissi (31st July 2001)

Back to Top of Page
Column Ends