I have hardly reviewed any of her books on this blog, but if I had, they would get nines and tens all around. You may have heard of Chocolat, and you may have watched the film (made more wonderful by the acting efforts of Juliette Binoche and Johnny Depp, not to mention a few other recognisable faces), but have you ever read the book?
Have you guessed who it is yet? Joanne Harris is the author I am giving love to today, because she is an utter marvel. Her books are wonderfully emotive, flawlessly descriptive and very distinctive. She will never give you the same book twice, and none of her stories seem to be regurgitated from other authors. She can write about murderers, online messaging, vampires, norse mythology and food, and make it all enthralling.
But enough gush, the real way to show you all what an incredible writer she is, is to give you a few quotes from her books, my favourite books.
'Nests of spun caramel with hard-shelled sugar eggs, each topped with a triumphantly plump chocolate hen; piebald rabbits heavy with gilded almonds stand in rows, ready to be wrapped and boxed; marzipan creatures march across the shelves.'
'The wasp crawled thickly against the glass, it's wings were clotted with syrup. He thought he could hear the insect inside the bottle. buzzing in a growing frenzy, but perhaps that was the wine itself calling, its hot bright scent distressing the air.'
Five Quarters of the Orange:
'This is something different again. A feeling of peace. The feeling you get when a recipe turns out perfectly right, a perfectly risen souffle, a flawless sauce hollandaise. It's a feeling which tells me that any woman can be beautiful in the eyes of a man who loves her.'
As you can probably tell, my favourites are the foodie one, but I have to say that Gentlemen and Players is also an exceptional read. The story is intense and intriguing, leaving you hanging on a thread to find out how the book will finally fit together.
If you do one thing this year, pick up a Joanne Harris book and give it a read.