Book: Peaches for Monsieur Le Curé by Joanne Harris

Rating: 4/5

For years fans have been putting pressure on author Joanne Harris to send her popular character Vianne Rocher back to Lansquenet, the quaint French village where she opened a chocolate shop eight years earlier. And at last she’s obliged. 

Vianne returns with her daughters, Anouk and Rosette, after receiving a cryptic letter warning her someone there needs her help but is too proud to ask.

On her arrival she’s amazed to see how much has changed – there’s the scent of spices in the air and on the banks of the river Tannes is a thriving Muslim community.

But not everyone is happy about the transformation and there’s a distinct sense of unease as the villagers and the  newcomers eye each other suspiciously.

At the centre of the discord is a mysterious veiled woman, Inès Bencharki, and Vianne’s old adversary, Father Francis Reynaud. Can Vianne use her special brand of magic to restore harmony to the village before things turn nasty?

In this third instalment in her popular Chocolat series Harris tackles the weighty issues of gender, religion, race and prejudice but she never lets them get in the way of her storytelling.

Threaded through with a riddle that keeps you guessing and wonderfully sensual descriptions of food, scents and sensations, this novel, while rather different from previous offerings, is one fans will savour and enjoy.

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