PEACHES FOR FATHER FRANCIS
Written by: Joanne Harris
Published by: Viking
I was drawn to the jacket of this book before I realized that is was a return to the French village of Lansquenet with the irrepressible Vianne Rocher. If you do not remember the first book in this series, CHOCOLAT, perhaps you remember the movie of the same name starring Johnny Depp and Juliette Binoche. I loved each for different reasons.
The book opens with Vianne, Roux, Anouk and Rosette living on their houseboat now docked in Paris. A letter arrives from someone special to Vianne from Lansquenet, their former home, its author has passed away so this is a message from beyond the grave for her. Vianne tries to put it in aside but she cannot get Armande’s words out of her head. So Vianne decides she must return to the village with both of her girls while Roux refused to go.
Little has changed in the quaint village in the eight years Vianne, Roux and the girls have been gone. Instead of gypsy outsiders the number of Moroccans has grown. Some welcome the alternate cultural Muslims and other do not. Vianne knows what it is like to feel the distrust and sometimes unfriendliness of this village.
Upon her return Vianne meets up with Father Francis, he was not someone who welcomed her before. But she sees he is distraught and she is drawn to help him. He has been accused of setting fire to the Muslim school and has been relieved of his duties in the church. That school was the former site of Vianne’s delightful chocolate shop when she lived here previously.
Vianne and her girls end up staying in Armande’s home and low and behold there in the backyard is a peach tree that produces the most glorious peaches one could ever imagine. The title of the book now taking shape along with the message in Armande’s letter to Vianne, she cannot turn away.
Anouk enjoys connecting with her old friends and Rosette immediately takes to her new surroundings. Rosette is a precious character that seems to share some of the special traits of Vianne. Soon the town is a flutter with the arrival of Vianne and her girls while the escalation of mistrust and violence between the locals and the Muslims grows.
Leave it to Vianne to bridge this gap with her one of a kind chocolates and her special spirit. After all Vianne knows what it is like to be an outsider in this village and she must use all her magic to bring peace back to Lansquenet.
Joanne Harris I truly hope this is not the last we will hear from Vianne and Lansquenet, that would truly be sad. But here is your opportunity to catch up if you have missed this series by Harris thanks to Viking. I am so fortunate to have a copy of PEACHES FOR FATHER FRANCIS in addition a copy of CHOCOLAT and some peach truffles to nibble upon when reading to giveaway.
To enter for a chance to win these wonderful reads and treats, simply leave a comment before midnight CST on Sunday, November 25th. As this is Thanksgiving week and Harris is a master with her chocolates, share your favorite chocolate treat. Open to U.S. residents only; winner will be randomly selected.