Vianne and her daughter Anouk arrive with the wind and meet the inhabitants of Lansquenet. Each character has their own brilliant identity, some are more welcoming than others and each seems affected by Vianne's arrival in their own way. After she opens a chocolate shop right infront of the Church (and just as Lent begins), the people start to come and discuss things they never felt they could before under the watchful eye of the town priest. Secrets are revealed and age/gender/class issues are brought to the fore-front. While many blame Vianne for the changes in the villages' inhabitants, others seem grateful for her arrival. But as gypsies arrive, the village is forced to choose between their indulgences and their morals.
This is my first experience reading a Joanne Harris and I was delighted with what I found. Thanks to Harris' exquisite writing style, what could easily have been a simple tale about a free-spirited woman coming to a small French town and ruffling some feathers has been turned in to a sensory delight that left me salivating. The superb descriptions, not just of the chocolate, but of the people, the area, the nuances and every detail of the beautiful little rustic French town are - simply put - delectable. There is no other way to describe her writing style. It envelops you in a way that no other book has like a warm blanket bringing its French sunshine, yummy treats, and care free nature right along with it.
Funny, heartwarming, sad and mouthwatering.