The third book in Joanne Harris's Chocolat series promises another beautifully written adventure from Lanquenet-sous-Tannes.
One of the most wonderful things about Harris's writing is the way that her characters are so realistic and compelling. Vianne Rocher is a much-loved character who we can really sympathise with, and it is brilliant that the author has once again given her legions of readers another story with her in it. The writing style is also exactly what we have come to expect from Joanne Harris. Her decriptions caress your senses and the plot is just fast enough to keep your interest without becoming actiony.
The plot and the ending will keep you on your toes. The plot builds slowly but keeps forming questions in your head, but the cresendo is fast and keeps you turning the pages. There are a couple of lovely twists in there too; the mystery surrounding Ines Bencharki is interesting and it is only revealed at the very end of the book. You never guess who she is until she tells you, and her story is compelling, startling and emotional.
However, this book was not quite as engrossing as the first two. There is not as much 'magic' and it is not as much to do with the food as to do with the people of the village this time. Hardcore Harris fans may miss this, but for the rest of the population, this will be an excellent book full of human interest.
For the most impact, read the first two books. References to the past are plentiful, so if you havn't read them, chances are that you won't get the whole picture or why certain things are so distressing.