My rating: 3 of 5 stars
This is a strange book to read during Lent. Written from the perspective of Vianne Rocher, chocolatier and single mother, and Pere Reynaud, priest of the small French town where Vianne recently set up shop, Chocolat is a story of temptation and pleasure set against restriction and temperance.
I enjoyed reading this along with the timeline of the story--when the cold wind sweeps through Lansquenet, Chicago's cold winds were blowing as well. I have my own Lenten vows to think about, and even though they didn't include giving up chocolate, there were times when just the description of the candies, drinks, and indulgences in Vianne's shop were too rich for me.
Yes, the church-vs-pagan thing was a bit overplayed, and while I think Vianne and Pere would contrast each other nicely in person (or in a movie), in ink, Pere is much duller than Vianne. I found myself skimming his chapters to get back to Vianne's point of view. I thought Vianne's daughter, Anouk, was adorable, and the many customers to Vianne's shop (most of whom are also parish members) ranged from charming to conniving.
Again, the gypsy storyline played out better in the movie, but I liked how the book tied things up at the end. I like my chocolate sweet, but not too sweet. Altogether, this was a "treat" book, a nice escape to my own bookshelf while I wait for the weather to improve so I can visit the library again.
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