Title: Peaches for Father Francis
Author: Joanne Harris
Publication Year: 2012
Date Completed: October/2012
Rating: 4/5Recommend: yes
Peaches for Father Francis reintroduces readers and movie goers to Vianne Roche the lovable, magical former candy shop owner who charmed so many in Chocolat over 10 years ago.
In this story Vianne is living with Roux and her daughters 15 year old, Anouk, and Rosette, now 8 years old on a houseboat. She misses her candy shop and yearns for something more. When a lost letter arrives from the grandson of her friend Armande who has since passed away asking for Vianne's help, she and her girls leave for Lansquenet. Her former shop had been turned into a school by a group of newcomers to the hamlet who happen to be of Arab descent. These people are not welcomed and are viewed as outsiders. They are treated in much the same way that Vianne had been when she had arrived there years earlier. When something happens to the school of the Muslim people, rumors have it that Vianne's arch enemy Father Francis may have been involved. Can Vianne help her former nemesis?
This was a story that was fun to read, even though the theme of "tolerance" is a serious subject. The way the newcomers to this small community were treated seemed to accurately reflect the way many people, often perceived as different, are treated throughout the world.
There were a lot of flashbacks to the earlier novel which were well written into this novel, as a result the story flowed very well. I loved the author's depiction of life in a small insular community, and there was even another element of mystery involving Vianne's partner Roux. Overall the quirky characters, tension among the residents, charm and magic made for and entertaining story. Although this book was actually book #3 of the series, The Girl With No Shadow was book #2, I didn't feel like I missed anything by not having read that book.
Thanks to the folks at Penguin/Viking for allowing me to read/review this novel.