The multiple perspectives involved in this modern-day witch's tale are ably tackled by Susanna Burney. She takes on the various voices of a precocious teenager, a depressed middle-aged mother, and an ambitious manipulator of indiscernible age. Each of these characters has her own accompanying cast of supporting characters. Although it may take listeners a while to get used to the shifting narrative perspective, the alternating chapters build to a palpable tension. Burney's voice modulates the distinct personalities in a versatile and engaging style. She is also adept at the French phrases interspersed throughout the story. The lives and passions of these three women are presented in a fascinating manner.
Hailed as an "irresistible confection" (Entertainment Weekly), "as sweet, rich and utterly satisfying as a fine truffle" (Wall Street Journal), and "an amazement of riches" (New York Times), Chocolat won the hearts of readers and critics everywhere. At last, Joanne Harris returns with The Girl with No Shadow, an exquisite treat that continues the story that began in her international best seller.
Since she was a little girl, the wind has dictated every move Vianne Rocher has made, buffeting her from place to place, from the small French village of Lansquenet-sous-Tannes to the crowded streets of Paris. Cloaked in a new identity, that of widow Yanne Charbonneau, she opens a chocolaterie on a small Montmartre street, determined to still the wind at last and keep her daughters, Anouk and the baby, Rosette, safe.
Her new home above the chocolate shop offers calm and quiet: no red sachets hang by the door; no sparks of magic fill the air; no Indian skirts with bells hang in her closet. Conformity brings with it anonymity - and peace. There is even Thierry, the stolid businessman who wants to take care of Yanne and the children. On the cusp of adolescence, an increasingly rebellious and restless Anouk does not understand. But soon the weathervane turns... and into their lives blows the charming and enigmatic Zozie de l'Alba. And everything begins to change.
Zozie offers the brightness Yanne's life needs. Anouk, too, is dazzled by this vivacious woman with the lollipop-red shoes who seems to understand her better than anyone - especially her mother. Yet this friendship is not what it seems. Ruthless, devious, and seductive, Zozie has plans that will shake their world to pieces. And with everything she loves at stake, Yanne must face a difficult choice: run, as she has done so many times before, or stand and confront this most dangerous enemy.
©2008 Frogspawn, Ltd.; (P)2008 HarperCollins Publishers
"Harris revisits characters from 1999's bestselling Chocolat in this equally delectable modern fairy tale." (Publishers Weekly)
"A contemporary, razor-edged fairy tale - very dark chocolate but likely to be gobbled up." (Kirkus Reviews)
Having stumbled upon Chocolat not too long ago and loving that story, I could not resist this sequel and was not disappointed. The character development was thorough and the perspective of each chapter coming from the three main characters worked very well.
The reader did a great job and it really held my interest start to finish.
I think the story would be better with a different narrator. She's understandable and articulate, but I feel like I'm listening to a television commercial, or an aggressively polite telephone operator.
I was a high school history teacher and a physician assistant-retired.
A sequel to Harris's best-seller Chocolat, The Girl With No Shadow makes magic seem boring. The characters are superficial, and Zozie's attempt to bewitch another witch's family takes too long to unravel. If the readers are interested in recipes for making a variety of chocolates, even hot chocolate, then I adviser them to listen only to those sections.
This was a gorgeous, compelling sequel to "Chocolat;" the narration is perfect and I am sad to have finished! I will miss the characters and keep looking in corners and peripheries for Pantouf.
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