The bestselling author of Chocolat and The Girl with No Shadow returns to Lansquenet in this enchanting new novel, Peaches for Father Francis (in the UK called Peaches for Monsieur le Curé)
When Vianne Rocher receives a letter from beyond the grave, she has no choice but to follow the wind that blows her back to Lansquenet, the beautiful French village in which eight years ago she opened a chocolate shop and first learned the meaning of home.
But returning to one’s past can be a dangerous pursuit. Vianne, with her daughters, Anouk and Rosette, finds Lansquenet changed in unexpected ways: women veiled in black, the scent of spices and peppermint tea—and there, on the bank of the river Tannes, facing the church, a minaret. Most surprising of all, her old nemesis, Father Francis Reynaud, desperately needs her help.
Can Vianne work her magic once again?
About Joanne Harris
Joanne Harris is the author of the Whitbread Award-nominated Chocolat (made into an Oscar-nominated film starring Juliette Binoche and Johnny Depp) and seven other bestselling novels. She plays bass guitar in a band first formed when she was 16, is currently studying Old Norse, and lives with her husband and daughter in Yorkshire.
Vianne Rocher is living in Paris on a houseboat with her husband, Roux, and daughters, Anouk and Rosette, when a posthumous letter arrives from Armande, the crusty old lady who had been her ally in upsetting the straight-laced mores of Lansquenet. This tiny hamlet once more needs Vianne’s intervention, Armande writes, without specifying exactly what is amiss. When Vianne arrives, she is surprised to learn the person most in need of rescue is her erstwhile antagonist, the tightly wound, chocolate-hating Monsieur le Curé Francis Reynaud. As parish pastor, Reynaud has been supplanted by a young, smug priest who wants to turn Mass into a PowerPoint presentation and replace the church’s old oaken pews with plastic chairs. The Bishop has not been pleased since rumors started circulating that Reynaud set fire to a school for Muslim girls housed in Vianne’s former candy shop. Reynaud is suspect because he clashed with the Imam of Les Marauds, Lansquenet’s Muslim neighborhood, over the installation of a minaret complete with call to prayer. The school’s founder, Inès Bencharki, whose brother, Karim, is the Imam’s son-in-law, has, along with her charismatic sibling, introduced Muslim fundamentalism into previously free-wheeling Les Marauds, requiring her pupils to veil themselves. Vianne is drawn into the fray when she takes in Alyssa, the Imam’s granddaughter, whom Reynaud saved from drowning herself. As they forge a gingerly alliance, Reynaud and Vianne suspect that Inès and Karim are hiding something, and those secrets, when revealed, are shocking. While Harris’ loving attention to the details of cuisine, French and Moroccan, and the daily lives of the eccentric village characters conveys a certain charm, the indolent pace of the novel doesn’t accelerate until the puzzle explodes with incandescent intensity near the end. The patient reader, however, will be amply rewarded. – Kirkus Reviews
“Peaches for Father Francis” by Joanne Harris
The Washington Post Book Review – October 12, 2012 (Excerpt)
Joanne Harris set her breakout 1999 novel, “Chocolat,” in Lansquenet-sous-Tannes, a fictional village in southwest France. She returns to the same territory in her new novel,“Peaches for Father Frances,” but it’s no longer the timeless setting for a romantic fairy tale.
Eight years have passed since Vianne Rocher and her young daughter left Lansquenet and the chocolate shop she opened opposite the village church on the eve of Lent. She’s now living in a houseboat on the Seine with her lover, Roux, and two daughters. A mysterious letter arrives from her dead friend Armande, beckoning Vianne back to Lansquenet to put flowers on her grave and pick the peaches ripening on the old tree by her house. The letter’s hint of trouble in the village involving Vianne’s old nemesis Father Francis Reynaud and the chance to leave Paris for the countryside prove irresistible. [Read the full article...]
We are the only country that makes guns, including military-style assault weapons, available to anyone who wants to buy them. This is not freedom. It is a tyranny of death and destruction — a tyranny of which the National Rifle Association is proud. The Washington Post
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