The Strawberry Thief by Joanne Harris

Here is what the QBD crew thought…

Vianne Rocher has settled in Lansquenet-sous-Tannes, the now accepted chocolatier embracing the community that once shunned her, whilst continuing to practice her own brand of chocolate magic. Even Reynaud, the priest who was once her fiercest critic, is now her friend.

Her eldest daughter Anouk has taken herself off to Paris to be with her beau, and her younger daughter, Rosette, helps her mother in the store. However, life will not remain content for long. Winter appears heralding change and a confrontation between two powerful kinds of magic – chocolate and ink – leaving Vianne with a sense of foreboding.

Rosette is such an interesting character; a girl stymied by her mother’s love, who struggles to speak, can see auras of people and sense the magical wind that whips around the village. Whilst many do not get Rosette and belittle her, Narcisse, the village florist, becomes close to the child after catching her stealing strawberries.

Upon his death, Narcisse bequeaths a parcel of land to Rosette, to be held in trust for her until she comes of age. Rosette is naturally overjoyed, but Narcisse’s daughter seeks to challenge the bequest and the life of the once-sleepy village is thrown into disarray.

This book is an utter delight to read. While the focus of the story is Rosette, there’s so much to immerse yourself in as all the different threads from events are played out while readers watch the characters deal with what they perceive to be threats to their way of life and peace of mind.

If you are drawn to mystical, bewitching, and fabulous storytelling, then this is a novel for you.

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