This is a truly excellent book, one of the best it has been my pleasure to read in the line of duty for years. Joanne Harris achieves everything a novelist should aim for, with no sense of effort or striving.
Vianne Rocher arrives in Lansquenet-sous-Tannes, a small town between Toulouse and Bordeaux, on Ash Wednesday. She brings with her an illegitimate daughter (father unknown), Anouk, and her skills – chocolate-making and divining. Vianne has led a gypsy’s existence, travelling across Europe and America, moving every time the wind changed. For the first time she begins to feel that perhaps she would like to settle down, and so, on a whim, she moves into the empty bakery and opens up a chocolate shop.