‘The Lollipop Shoes’

This is another one of the books that I read whilst on holiday this summer, The Lollipop Shoes by Joanne Harris is a sequel to Chocolat and I’m actually ashamed to say that I haven’t read Chocolat yet…I know! Anyway, it will be one of my next purchases as I really enjoyed the sequel, which bodes well! It was also good that instead of feeling that I should have read Chocolat first, I actually feel like I really want to read it now…not because I feel like I’m missing out, but rather that I want more of the magical story!

The book entwines the stories of Vianne Rocher and Zosie de l’Alba…Vianne, is a chocolatier who after travelling around for much of her life, settles in Montmartre and is trying to have a normal life (whatever that is!) and Zosie likes to think of herself as a collector of identities…though she actually steals them! Zosie is an interesting character from the outset as, not knowing about the magic which threads itself throughout the plot…I actually thought that she was just out to get as much money as she could, picking up bank details, credit cards and the┬álike…but it is much more complex than that! As the magic starts to reveal itself, the plot becomes even more enthralling! But I couldn’t help hoping that Zosie would just leave this little family (Vianne and her two children, Anouk and Rosette) alone! The story is told from the perspectives of Vianne, Zosie and also Anouk (a.k.a. Annie) and it becomes quite haunting reading the contradictory perspectives one after the other as Zosie’s obsession with stealing Vianne’s life grows! It was chilling that while on the one hand she was enriching the lives of those around her, Anouk was doing better in school and Vianne had started making the chocolates from scratch again for example…she was doing those things purely┬áso that when she takes over, the life will be easier and richer! For example, in spite of helping Anouk in school with the “friends” that she is getting upset over, she unknowingly helps Anouk find a boyfriend who she is very fond of…only to suddenly slip a little something in his truffle! Although we are aware of Zosie’s past and become increasingly aware that she won’t let anything stand in her way…the extent that she is prepared to go for this identity is quite startling! I was also really moved by the sections with Roux, especially when he meets Rosette for the first time and I found myself desperate for him to come back and follow his instincts about Zosie and save the day!

This is simply a wonderful book and I can’t wait to read Chocolat! Also, the fact that the book is full of descriptions of chocolate is a pretty wonderful thing too! I could almost taste Vianne’s hot chocolate when I read this book! The seductive power of chocolate overwhelms both the characters and the reader, which is a real testament to Harris’s writing!