“The wind keeps worrying at the cords that keep us safe. Still we hear its siren call. And it smells of other places. It speaks of danger and sunlight, adventure and joy. It catches at the back of the throat like unexpected laughter“
Several years after reading Chocolat I have chosen The Strawberry Thief, the 4th book in the series. Vianne had been away in Paris with her two daughters Anouk and Rosette but now re-established in the Chocolaterie in the village of Lansquenet-sous-Tannes she has an on/off relationship with Roux, Rosette’s father who lives in his boat on the river. She desperately misses Anouk but feels secure with Rosette whose lack of speech and strange ways keep her at home with her mother. And yet she feels happy to let Rosette wander without fearing she will come to harm.
But then the wind returns, things will change, not just for Vianne but also for Reynaud, the priest, who is now a friend. A mysterious new shop, painted purple, replaces the old florist across the square. The local people should resist it but its new owner charms the most unexpected villagers. Vianne feels threatened and Reynaud is haunted by his past. The story is told through the words of Vianne, Rosette and Reynaud and also the testimony of old Narcisse, who has died leaving Rosette a small area of woodland as her inheritance. The past may catch up with Reynaud, Vianne may have to accept change but will Rosette find her “voice”?
As I expected, this is a book telling us stories with poetry and and magic which lays ghosts to rest. A beautiful conclusion to the tale.
The Strawberry Thief on Amazon UK
My review of Four Quarters of the Orange by Joanne Harris