Today I pass over to Mandie who has a blog tour review of The Strawberry Thief by Joanne Harris. Thanks to publishers Orion Books who provided a copy of the book for review and to Tracy Fenton for inviting us to join the tour. Here is what the book is all about:
About the Book
Return to the world of the multi-million-copy bestselling Chocolat….
Vianne Rocher has settled down. Lansquenet-sous-Tannes, the place that once rejected her, has finally become her home. With Rosette, her ‘special’ child, she runs her chocolate shop in the square, talks to her friends on the river, is part of the community. Even Reynaud, the priest, has become a friend.
But when old Narcisse, the florist, dies, leaving a parcel of land to Rosette and a written confession to Reynaud, the life of the sleepy village is once more thrown into disarray.
The arrival of Narcisse’s relatives, the departure of an old friend and the opening of a mysterious new shop in the place of the florist’s across the square – one that mirrors the chocolaterie, and has a strange appeal of its own – all seem to herald some kind of change: a confrontation, a turbulence – even, perhaps, a murder…
I am going to have to admit right at the beginning of this review that I have never actually read Chocolat so reading The Strawberry Thief was the first time I had been introduced to Joanne Harris’s work. Couple this with the fact that the style of authors writing is not one I would normally read, I did wonder if I would like it. I can honestly say that I am glad that I pushed myself to read something outside my normal comfort zone as I really loved it.
What seems like a charming story about Vianne Rocher and her daughter Rosette is actually so much more. Living in Lansquenet-sous-Tannes they seem to have a settled life with Vianne running an established Chocolate shop. Things change however when Rosette is left a plot of land when florist Narcisse dies. This does not sit well with his daughter who believes that the land should come to her so that she can sell it to developers. When the mysterious tattooist Morganne arrives, everyone starts to feel a little unsettled.
The story is told from three different points of view, Vianne, Rosette and the priest Reynaud, each one of them looking at events in a different way. Where this can sometimes be distracting in a book, I think in this instance it really works. Although the book centres on these three main characters there is so much more going on. Secrets from the past slowly find their way back into the present and people are forced to confront their actions. What I think I loved most was witnessing the change in Rosette. She goes from a shy child that only seems to relate to her mother, to finding her own voice and talent. Vianne has tried desperately to hold onto Rosette but even she finally realises that she has to let her go and find her own way in the world.
This is the fourth book in the series but don’t worry if like me you have not read any of the others as it is strong enough to stand on its own and at no time will you feel like you have missed an important piece in the story. Joanne Harris has created characters with enough depth that you can’t help but get invested in their journey of discovery about themselves and those around them. If you are going to pick up just one book that might not be your normal read, then The Strawberry Thief would be a good choice.
About the Author
JOANNE HARRIS is an Anglo-French author, whose books include fourteen novels, two cookbooks and many short stories. Her work is extremely diverse, covering aspects of magic realism, suspense, historical fiction, mythology and fantasy. In 2000, her 1999 novel CHOCOLAT was adapted to the screen, starring Juliette Binoche and Johnny Depp. She is an honorary Fellow of St Catharine’s College, Cambridge, and in 2013 was awarded an MBE by the Queen.