First published in 1997, 'Chocolat' became a publishing sensation, an Oscar-nominated film and announced Joanne Harris as a new literary talent on the scene. The book is a bestseller worldwide, and Joanne has enthralled readers since with five further novels and a collection of short stories.
At first, Joanne Harris didn't think she would ever write a sequel to 'Chocolat' but says: "you can never be entirely sure if someone you thought was gone from your life may not suddenly return out of the blue". She was certainly fond of her characters Vianne and Anouk, and didn't discount the possibility that she might write about Anouk again as she grew up. Now she has.
As 'The Lollipop Shoes' opens, five years have passed since 'Chocolat', the story of Vianne Rocher who, with her six-year -old daughter Anouk, had blown into the stuffy little village of Lansquenet and opened her chocolate shop at just the wrong time - and in just the wrong place - incurring the wrath of the local priest and pitting Church against Chocolate.
Now Vianne has another daughter, Rosette: Anouk has started secondary school: and three of them are living in a rented chocolaterie in the Montmartre district of Paris. On the surface, life seems good; Vianne is accepted within the community and she has leant to conform; to blend in. The wind has stopped blowing - for a while.
But security has a high price, and Vianne has made some heavy sacrifices. She has given up her mother's ways: the magic that she and her daughters shared. She has given up her identity, living now under the name of Yanne Charbonneau (and Anouk is now called Annie) and has even given up making chocolates. Most importantly, she has also given up true love - in the person of Rosette's father, Roux - and is considering marriage to her reassuringly conventional landlord Thierry.
Onto this stage comes Zozie de l'Alba, the wearer of the 'lollipop' shoes, blowing into town on the Day of the Dead. Beautiful, passionate, bohemian and fabulous, she befriends Anouk, moves into the shop, seduces half the neighbourhood with her effortless charm and, little by little, helps Vianne regain not only her chocolate-making skills, but her life....
Soon the chocolate shop is transformed and once again Vianne is making her famous mendiants du roi, violet creams and lunes de miel. But there is more to Zozie: a scavenger and stealer of identities, her influence grows over Vianne, the shop, the customers, but most of all over Anouk. And as Christmas approaches, it becomes clear that behind the charismatic facade there lies a cold and malevolent being, her power immense; her greed insatiable; her ultimate goal - possession.
As 'The Lollipop Shoes' moves to a thrilling climax, Vianne must return to her old self and use all her power to battle with Zozie and save Anouk.
JOANNE HARRIS is the author of the Whitbread-shortlisted CHOCOLAT (made into a major film starring Juliette Binoche), BLACKBERRY WINE, FIVE QUARTERS OF THE ORANGE, COASTLINERS, HOLY FOOLS, JIGS & REELS, SLEEP, PALE SISTER, GENTLEMEN & PLAYERS and, with Fran Warde, THE FRENCH KITCHEN: A COOKBOOK and THE FRENCH MARKET: MORE RECIPES FROM A FRENCH KITCHEN. Joanne lives in Huddersfield, Yorkshire, with her husband and daughter.
Review: Loved 'Chocolat' and 'The Lollipop Shoes' is a captivating sequel. Enjoy with a hot chocolate in bed.
The Lollipop Shoes
Random House Australia
Author: Joanne Harris
ISBN: 9780385609494 / 0385609493