Culture Street

By Sophia Whitfield

For those who did not read Chocolat, most will remember the Oscar nominated film starring Juliette Binoche as the beguiling Vianne Rocher and Johnny Depp as gypsy Roux.

Lovers of Chocolat will not be disappointed by Peaches for Monsieur le Cure, the third book in the Chocolat series (the second was The Lollipop Shoes). Heroine Vianne Rocher returns to Lansquenet, a fictional village in south-west France, eight years after she set up home and opened a chocolate shop.

Along with her two daughters, Anouk (15) and Rosette (8) she sets off to Lansquenet, leaving Roux behind, after receiving a letter from the grave. Her dear friend Armande informs her that she is needed and Rocher cannot resist the temptation, leaving her home in Paris to seek out old friends.

“Take a trip back to Lansquenet. Bring the children.” Armande implores from the grave.

Rocher finds the village much changed, Muslims have moved in and women in black veils walk the streets. A mosque has been built and while some have welcomed the newcomers, many resent them. Relations have broken down between the new and old community.

Francis Reynaud, the priest Rocher horrified (in Chocolat) by selling her chocolate delights at Lent, stands accused of burning down Rocher’s old chocolate shop, now a Muslim school run by the mysterious niqub-wearing Ines Bencharki.

Harris has added a new mix with the exploration of the cultural differences between Christians and Muslims. However devoted Chocolat fans will find much the same in the magical character of Rocher and the sensual flavours and tastes that traditionally pour off the page in the Chocolat books.

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