From Publishers Weekly
Harris revisits characters from 1999's bestselling Chocolat
in this equally delectable modern fairy tale. More than four years have passed since Vianne Rocher pitted her enchanted chocolate confections against the local clergy's interpretation of Lent in smalltown France; since then, Vianne has renounced magic, changed her name to Yanne Charbonneau and moved with her two daughters to Paris's Montmartre district. There, Yanne embraces conformity and safety, much to the dismay of her increasingly troubled older daughter, Anouk. When Anouk becomes entranced with Zozie de l'Alba, an exotic itinerant who happens upon a job at the new shop, and the relationship grows increasingly sinister, Yanne must call up all of Vianne's powers, culinary and mystical, to save her family. Harris again structures the narrative (told in alternate chapters by Zozie, Yanne and Anouk) around a liturgical season (in this case Advent). Harris gives fans much to savor in this multilayered novel, from the descriptions (including Yanne's mouthwatering chocolate confections, Zozie's whimsical footwear and Anouk's artistic efforts) to the novel's classic, enduring theme of good vs. evil—and the difficulty of telling the difference. (Apr.)
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The Washington Post
asks the leading question: “[Vianne and Anouk] were unforgettable characters. … Will readers be pleased or disappointed as [Joanne] Harris makes them grow and change?” At first, the novel doesn’t seem promising: Vianne renounces her magical powers and contemplates a marriage of convenience. Anouk starts school. The sleepy French village has been replaced by a 21st-century Parisian neighborhood. However, critics agree that the magic is still there. The characters and their relationships are seamlessly crafted, their lives skillfully interwoven. Harris’s prose is lush and laden with mouth-watering descriptions of Vianne’s homemade delights. Darker and denser than its predecessor, The Girl With No Shadow
may take some readers by surprise, but most will revel in the return of the Rochers.Copyright © 2004 Phillips & Nelson Media, Inc.