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 the 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 mischievious, Chocolat is a literary feast for all senses.
©1999 Joanne Harris; (P)2006 BBC Audiobooks Ltd.
"A celebration of pleasure, of love, of tolerance." (Observer)
A wonderful story with a thread of magic running through it.
"Better than chocolate"
I had already seen the film, but thought the book was much better. In contrast to another reviewer who thought she should have listened to the abridged version, I found every word of this interesting and would not have known which words could be cut out to abridge it without losing any of the gentle humour and pathos.
Beautifully read, a real joy to listen to.
I think I gain more from listening as then, you don't skim or speed-read!
"CHOCOLAT - a wonderful magical story"
This is such a great book - as a previous reviewer said - much better than the film which tries to tie everything up too conveniently. Juliet Stevenson once again excels in her reading, making each character unique. Her reading makes all the descriptions come alive - and I would not want to opt for the abridged version and miss all this richness.
"as enjoyable as a box of your favourite chocolates"
I really do enjoy Joanne Harris books. Love the way you leave reality behind and gently step into a world that is full of enchantment dusting the everyday lives of characters you can really imagine knowing in real life.
Chocolat is the start of a special journey if it happens to be the first of her books you read,enjoy the ride.
"Different from the film but just as good"
A real feel-good listen. The story of how change comes to a suffocating and static village in rural France.
"Too long and descriptive."
It's my own fault I should have listened to the abridged version. I found this far too descriptive and had I have been reading this book would probably have skipped lots of pages.
I think because of this I didn't enjoy the book and suggest to anybody thinking of chosing it would recommend the shortened version. I have heard other Joanne Harris books which I've enjoyed more. The storyline is ok though, just too long-winded for me.
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