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Peaches for Father Francis: A Novel by…
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Peaches for Father Francis: A Novel (original 2012; edition 2012)

by Joanne Harris

Series: Chocolat (3)

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3511431,129 (3.92)24
Member:CynWetzel
Title:Peaches for Father Francis: A Novel
Authors:Joanne Harris
Info:Viking Adult (2012), Hardcover, 464 pages
Collections:Read 2013
Rating:*****
Tags:13 in 13

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Peaches for Father Francis by Joanne Harris (2012)

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Showing 1-5 of 12 (next | show all)
Chocolat, book three.

I've been a fan of Joanne Harris for many years now (though not of her newer Young Adult fantasy series), and another book in the Chocolat series is a treat. I did wish I'd read Lollipop Shoes (The Girl with No Shadow) before reading this book though, as there were definitely some gaps caused by jumping straight from Chocolat. Unfortunately I didn't have time to read both before the discussion.

The subject matter is highly topical, particularly in France, where it has been declared illegal to wear a face veil, or niqab. The sleepy village of Lansquenet, where Vianne had opened her chocolaterie eight years before, is now home to a growing population of North African Muslims. A community has sprung up on the far side of the river and animosity has developed on both sides. A mysterious letter draws Vianne back, along with her, now teenage daughter, Anouk and her younger sister, Rosette. Meanwhile, Roux awaits for their return on a houseboat in Paris.

The animosity between Vianne and Father Reynaud is still there, but he has changed and no longer has the power over the village that he once had. Several other familiar faces take their place in the narrative, like old friends returning.
Eight year old Rosette is a lively addition to the Roche family, she is such a character, and she plays an important role in events. The descriptions of the village are just beautiful and the whole flavour of France is wonderfully evoked.
There are misunderstandings to be tackled and a question lurking in the past that must be addressed, and Vianne stays longer than she had originally planned.

I was surprised when my book group slated this book, as I'd enjoyed it, maybe not quite as much as Chocolat, but it was a solid 4 stars. They criticised it for being too unbelievable, but I think you expect to need a little imagination for Joanne Harris books.
Ms Harris handles the racial tension with a deft hand, raising a subject that is rarely written about in contemporary novels. This seems a natural progression for an author who wrote about Catholicism in Holy Fools, and she handles it with discretion.

I sincerely hope this is not the last we have seen of Vianne and the little village of Lansquenet. The author will be at the Dubai Literary Festival in March, hopefully she will have good news :)

Also read:
Chocolat (5 stars)
Blackberry Wine (5 stars)
Sleep, Pale Sister (4 stars)
Gentlemen and Players (5 stars)
Runemarks (2 stars)
Coastliners (5 stars)
Holy Fools (4 stars)
Five Quarters of the Orange (5 stars) ( )
  DubaiReader | Jan 18, 2014 |
Peaches for Father Frances is also a carefully constructed, thought-provoking novel exploring faith, the personal meaning and ways of worship, and the evolution of fellowship and religion in a community struggling to endure tensions between Muslims and Christians. ( )
  daniellnic | Sep 25, 2013 |
I always love Joanne Harris's novels. Her characters seem to come alive, and her evocative language truly captures the feel of the setting - the scent, the smell, the lifestyle, it makes it all seem so real. "Peaches" is no exception. It does have some darker moments, and Vianne is having to explore a bit more of her own nature,reflecting on her life and where it is going, growing more than the free spirit caught in the wind. Of course, the biggest changes have been wrought in Monsieur Cure, still stuck in his ways, but he too has grown a little more accepting. He would never, before, have asked Vianne for help. Harris writes few villains, merely characters whose goals do not always coincide and, indeed, often clash. Real people, whose thoughts and hopes, desires and dreams are almost tangiable.I love her work, and shall continue to read it for as long as she may write it! ( )
  LemurKat | Sep 12, 2013 |
Another cracker from Joanne Harris - yes, it was a little slow to get going, but hang on in there and the magic really begins to happen. This time round I loved Monsieur le Cure who's just a delight and a wonderfully unlikely hero - I loved him and would definitely read more - does he need his own book? I do hope so.

Later there's a real sense of horror in the secret crimes which go on in the village (and beyond) - but this balances nicely with the sensuous poetry and the magic. Excellent stuff and, as always, a superb and mystical ending. ( )
  AnneBrooke | Sep 11, 2013 |
i liked this far less than the first two in the series. i still like the character of vianne, but all the annoyances in the first two books really come to life in this one. i'm glad it's the last.

i was glad to return to lansquenet, and i was glad to see that cure francis had grown after his humiliation that ended chocolat, but was surprised to find him still as prideful and distrusting of "foreigners' as he had been before (or nearly so).

i have read only a handful of books published since 9/11/01, and have been expecting that, when i get around to it, i'll encounter a lot of books that exploit the new focus (and fear) we have in america on islam and muslims. i know that harris' point here is that muslims aren't scary, aren't evil, aren't a danger to "christian america," but i feel like she did it in a way that sometimes contradicted that message.

i wasn't really interested in the "mystery" that was, i think, supposed to capture our attention throughout. i felt like vianne stuck her nose in everyone's business, that she was entirely too nosy and entitled than i cared for, that she had no call to get involved the way she did. also, that what felt like her drive to empower people in chocolat felt like a power trip here. (this quote, from later in the book: "What happened to ______[character name], who had such big, brave dreams? I thought I had freed her from _______." really? *you* freed her? you didn't empower her to make her own decisions, which may or may not agree with what you thought she would do? this was all about you then? bugged the crap out of me, sorry.)

bottom line is that this book was just ok for me, although i did like the ending, and it's still well written. ( )
  elisa.saphier | Jul 10, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 12 (next | show all)
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Epigraph
Dedication
To my father, Bob Short, who would never let good fruit go to waste.
First words
Someone once told me that, in France alone, a quarter of a million letters are delivered every year to the dead.
Quotations
Scrying with chocolate is an uncertain business, closer to dreams than to truth, more likely to throw up fantasies than anything that I can use. It flutters like dark confetti, each piece an ephemeral fragment, gleaming for a second and then going out like a blown spark.
Last words
Disambiguation notice
British title: Peaches for Monsieur le Curé (May 2012); US title: Peaches For Father Francis (October 2012);
from Wikipedia.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0670026360, Hardcover)

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?

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:32:28 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

Vianne Rochet returns to the French village of Lansquenet with her daughters, Anouk and Rosette, before allying herself with a desperate Father Frances Reynaud to reverse disturbing local changes.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 5 descriptions

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