Friday, March 28, 2008

The Girl with No Shadow-Joanne Harris

The Girl with No Shadow
Joanne Harris
Morrow, May 2008, $24.95
ISBN: 9780061431623

Over four years have passed since Vianne Rocher got into a local brawl over the sale of her special chocolate confections declared as contraband by the Lansquenet, France clergy during Lent (see CHOCOLAT). Tired of the sweet war, Vianne repudiated the magic part of her recipe, changed her name to Yanne Charbonneau and seeking security, accompanied by her two daughters, teenage Anouk and infant Rosette, moved to Montmartre in Paris where she opened up a more mundane chocolaterie.

However, Yanne begins to understand the curse of motherhood as she wants her children safe, but Anouk rebels. Zozie de l'Alba obtains a job at Yanne’s Paris store, but soon Anouk is enchanted by the newcomer. Worried for her child, she has doubts about Zozie’s intentions; Yanne returns to her past as Vianne. She needs to use her magic to keep Anouk safe and to generate a special chocolate concoction but since it is Advent season the righteous frowns on her sweet creations.

This sequel continues the adventures of everyone’s favorite confectionaire (outside of perhaps Willie Wonka) who has become a die hard conformist out of fear for her daughters until forced out of fear for her oldest child to be a born again magician. The story line rotates perspective between Zozie, Yanne and Anouk while once again a major religious season is in the background causing problems for the non-conformist heroine. Readers will appreciate this strong tale with implications in today’s world; the story line focuses on the problems of fighting evil when the good side gives up its moral high road behaving more malevolent based on the end justifies the mean.

Harriet Klausner

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