The Strawberry Thief: beautifully stirring the senses

I was mesmerised reading The Strawberry Thief. It is such a beautiful and evocative read; truly enchanting.

The Strawberry Thief is the latest Chocolat novel by Joanne Harris; and dare I say, I think it’s even better than the original Chocolat. Sorry, please don’t lynch me for making that statement, but believe me, The Strawberry Thief is THAT brilliant – it is a stunning novel! The ending of the novel really touched me, it blew me away and left me with tears streaming down my face. It is such a moving ending to such a beautiful and profound story.

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In the new novel Vianne Rocher has returned to Lansquenet-sous-Tannes, the small sleepy town where she once struggled for acceptance. Lansquenet-sous-Tannes is now home to Vianne, where she runs her chocolate shop and raises her ‘special child’ Rosette. Even the local priest Francis Reynaud, who was once determined to drive Vianne out of town is now a friend of sorts. Vianne is settled and happy although she painfully misses her eldest daughter Anouk, who now lives in Paris.

Joanne Harris
Joanne Harris, author of Chocolat and The Strawberry Thief

Then the wind blows, bringing change to the community of Lansquenet-sous-Tannes. This starts with the death of Narcisse, the old florist who leaves an oak wood in his will to Rosette; a woodland where he once caught her stealing strawberries.

Narcisse also leaves a private document for Reynaud. The priest cannot understand why Narcisse has left him the document which relates to the dead man’s childhood, especially as Narcisse only felt contempt for Reynaud and all he stood for. However as the novel progresses, it becomes clear why Narcisse chooses to confess all to Reynaud. For me, this was the most poignant part of the novel – it really touched me and broke my heart. Narcisse’s story is tragic and painful, but it also full of love.

Narcisse’s family, resentful of Rosette inheriting the oak wood move to the town. They rent out Narcisse’s old flower shop which is directly opposite the chocolaterie. Vianne is unsettled by the mysterious allure of the new shop, not trusting its appeal. Vianne’s sense of threat grows deeper as Rosette is magically drawn to the shop, pulling away from her mother.

The Strawberry Thief is Joanne Harris at her best – it is thought-provoking, atmospheric and so beautiful. I absolutely loved it and I know you will too.

Thank you to Tracy Fenton from Compulsive Readers for inviting me to take part in the blog tour of The Strawberry Thief – when I received the email I couldn’t believe my luck. It is an absolute privilege to be one of the book bloggers to help publicise this beautiful read. Thank you also Tracy and Orion Publishing for arranging my advance proof copy to read.

But mostly, thank you Joanne Harris for writing The Strawberry Thief, giving us the sheer joy in returning to Lansquenet-sous-Tannes and its collection of flawed, beautiful and very real characters.

The Strawberry Thief is out now as it was published on 4th April 2019. This is a truly spellbinding novel, so get your copy now. You won’t be disappointed.

Have a read also of the reviews from my fellow book bloggers. As you will see, they also think The Strawberry Thief is brilliant.

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