“Chocolat” follows the life of Vianne Rocher, a chocolatier, and her daughter Anouk as they settle into a small French town. Vianne quickly opens up a chocolate store, but is met with hostility from the town’s priest. As Vianne’s store begins to pick up business and Vianne herself starts to find friends, the priest’s spite for her only grows. When a group of river travellers arrive, and it seems as though Vianne begins to fall for the handsome traveller Roux, the priest is nearly beside himself with the so-called ‘plague’ she has brought to the small town. So, the priest declares war, and humorous calamities ensue.
This novel is a little slow, but in an enjoyable way. Not too much happens too fast, and the events are spread out in a way that nicely leads up to and prepares the reader for the climax. The characters themselves are interesting and well-rounded, and help to keep the plot moving. The plot itself is humorous and upbeat, but does have darker undertones that make for an enjoyable, multilayered read. The setting is clever and unique, and described in minimal detail, allowing for readers to create their own images and personalities of the town.
Overall, the author of this review does recommend this book. It is not on the top of her list, but it was a fun read. “Chocolat” does have some deeper meanings, but readers would need to squint and stand on their head to really see them. Due to this, “Chocolat” would be a better pleasure read than an essay or ‘book talk’ book. The author of this review believes “Chocolat” to be suitable for ages thirteen and up.