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Book Review: Five Quarters of the Orange by Joanne Harris

EtherealJinxed | Book Review | Five Quarters of the Orange by Joanne Harris

Had you checked my review of Chocolat and its sequel The Lollipop ShoesIf not, click on the hyperlinks. Each was an amazing fantasy book with chocolate recipes weaved into the tale and I was so impressed with the writings of Joanne Harris, the author, that I had to give another book of hers a read. Now, this line I have just written you may find at contradiction with my review of Me Before You by Jojo Moyes where I did not feel like reading another book of the same author one after the other, but it so happened that I had read Five Quarters of the Orange a month back and forgot altogether about writing a review. I got reminded recently when a friend recommended me to read Joanne Harris books. But you know, a lot can happen in a month, your mind and heart can flip 180°.

So, about the book, it follows the same standard format of recipes (not chocolate this time) weaved in the storyline. However, I felt it was lacking in many fronts, especially the suspense of why the main protagonist has hidden her real name. In fact there were many questions I wanted answer of while reading the story, but of which the book did not conclude, e.g. what was it that led the main protagonist’s mother to fear orange. Probably it may not have resulted in fast forwarding the storyline, but I was assuming that there would be much more in the ending. Even the notes in the book is not leading to major disclosure (again I sort of expected this to happen). My bad, to have high expectations from a book or a person.

However, if you do not compare Chocolat and this book Five Quarters of the Orange, it is an “okay” book on its own. You can read it if are not able to find other better books.

Keep watching my blog for more book reviews!

Book blurb:
The novels of Joanne Harris are a literary feast for the senses. Five Quarters of the Orange represents Harris’s most complex and sophisticated work yet – a novel in which darkness and fierce joy come together to create an unforgettable story.

When Framboise Simon returns to a small village on the banks of the Loire, the locals do not recognize her as the daughter of the infamous Mirabelle Dartigen – the woman they still hold responsible for a terrible tragedy that took place during the German occupation decades before. Although Framboise hopes for a new beginning she quickly discovers that past and present are inextricably intertwined. Nowhere is this truth more apparent than in the scrapbook of recipes she has inherited from her dead mother.

With this book, Framboise re-creates her mother’s dishes, which she serves in her small creperie. And yet as she studies the scrapbook – searching for clues to unlock the contradiction between her mother’s sensuous love of food and often cruel demeanor – she begins to recognize a deeper meaning behind Mirabelle’s cryptic scribbles. Within the journal’s tattered pages lies the key to what actually transpired the summer Framboise was nine years old.

Rich and dark. Five Quarters of the Orange is a novel of mothers and daughters of the past and the present, of resisting, and succumbing, and an extraordinary work by a masterful writer.

About the author:
Joanne Harris is a British author, whose books include fourteen novels, two cookbooks and many short stories. Her work is extremely diverse, covering aspects of magic realism, suspense, historical fiction, mythology and fantasy. She has also written a DR WHO novella for the BBC, has scripted guest episodes for the game ZOMBIES, RUN!, and is currently engaged in a number of musical theatre projects as well as developing an original drama for television.

In 2000, her 1999 novel CHOCOLAT was adapted to the screen, starring Juliette Binoche and Johnny Depp. She is an honorary Fellow of St Catharine’s College, Cambridge, and in 2013 was awarded an MBE by the Queen.

Her hobbies are listed in Who’s Who as ‘mooching, lounging, strutting, strumming, priest-baiting and quiet subversion’. She also spends too much time on Twitter; plays flute and bass guitar in a band first formed when she was 16; and works from a shed in her garden at her home in Yorkshire.

Website: joanne-harris.co.uk
Twitter: @Joannechocolat

Rating: 6/10
Genre: Historical Fiction
Book Name: Five Quarters of the Orange
Author: Joanne Harris
Pages: 307
Publication Year: 2001

Book Review: The Lollipop Shoes by Joanne Harris

Ethereal Jinxed | Book Review | The Lollipop Shoes or The Girl With No Shadow or Chocolat #2 by Joanne Harris

Had you checked my review of the prequel to The Lollipop Shoes or otherwise named as The Girl with No Shadow, i.e. Chocolat? If not, click here. That was one amazing fantasy book with overdose of chocolate recipes weaved into the tale. The same is expected of this book. Even if it doesn’t match the caliber of the former one, but still as a standalone book if you consider, it is as good. This was recommended once I posted review of Chocolat, otherwise I would not have found this gem.

There are lots of twists and turns (more than the first one) which would keep a reader engaged and keep on turning the pages. The point I liked about the book is the way it illustrates how for your kids, you want to choose the best option for them to keep them safe like Vianne or Yanne does. Having become a mother recently, I could get the vibes that the author Joanne has captured perfectly and the ways one should and shouldn’t behave around their kids and that if you are happy, so will they be and you do not need to make extra efforts for the same.

So, read on this book to discover the lost love of your family and magic and of course, the passionate decadent chocolates.

Keep watching my blog for more book reviews!

Book blurb:

The wind has always dictated Vianne Rocher’s every move, buffeting her from the 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 baby Rosette, safe. But the weather vane soon turns, and Zozie de l’Alba blows into their lives. Charming and enigmatic, Zozie provides the brightness that Yanne’s life needs–as her vivacity and bold lollipop shoes dazzle rebellious and impressionable preadolescent Anouk. But beneath their new friend’s benevolent facade lies a ruthless treachery–for devious, seductive Zozie has plans that will shake their world to pieces.

About the author:
Joanne Harris is a British author, whose books include fourteen novels, two cookbooks and many short stories. Her work is extremely diverse, covering aspects of magic realism, suspense, historical fiction, mythology and fantasy. She has also written a DR WHO novella for the BBC, has scripted guest episodes for the game ZOMBIES, RUN!, and is currently engaged in a number of musical theatre projects as well as developing an original drama for television.

In 2000, her 1999 novel CHOCOLAT was adapted to the screen, starring Juliette Binoche and Johnny Depp. She is an honorary Fellow of St Catharine’s College, Cambridge, and in 2013 was awarded an MBE by the Queen.

Her hobbies are listed in Who’s Who as ‘mooching, lounging, strutting, strumming, priest-baiting and quiet subversion’. She also spends too much time on Twitter; plays flute and bass guitar in a band first formed when she was 16; and works from a shed in her garden at her home in Yorkshire.

Website: joanne-harris.co.uk
Twitter: @Joannechocolat

Rating: 8/10
Genre: Fantasy
Book Name: The Lollipop Shoes / The Girl with No Shadow
Chocolat #2
Author: Joanne Harris
Pages: 444
Publication Year: 2007

Book Review: Chocolat by Joanne Harris

Ethereal Jinxed | Book Review | Chocolat by Joanne Harris

This is yet another book which came recommended by my reading group. Ok, so just a disclaimer – my reading group keeps on throwing details of good books which I hadn’t heard of previously left, right and center (every second) and a person needs to filter out the one with which he/she connects with.

You know I love chocolates (but tell me who doesn’t), the fetish for which had started during my engineering days otherwise I only used to prefer toffees. And with both my hubby and me loving chocolates so much, our refrigerator is always filled with them. So enough about myself, about the book, the name Chocolat itself sounded so tantalizing that I simply had to pick it up. The different chocolate varieties as mentioned in the book – praline, fondue etc made my mouth water. Rich descriptions have been mentioned but I would all give it away and you absolutely have to pick this book. Just a tidbit: my hubby bought 7 kgs of yummy chocolates yesterday.

The story is a general one but the way it is treated makes it exquisite. The religion vs chocolate struggle where chocolate is correlated with devil by the priest may seem to some as too much, but in India, we already had one such instance when one politician said chowmein is responsible for rapes and here, I am quoting him verbatim. Love, loss, humanity, abuse, marriage, arson, childishness, maturity, witch, God, there is nothing that the book hasn’t touched, but everything seems to be threaded together into magic. Only if religion was redeemed in the end to avoid dispute, but perhaps that is what made this book even more popular. Yes, I will definitely recommend this book for a time pass read.

Ah, I just found out there is a movie too based on this book, now let me go watch it. Go, bite into a piece of chocolate and enjoy this book/ namesake movie!

Keep watching my blog for more book reviews!

Book blurb:

A timeless novel of a straitlaced village’s awakening to joy and sensuality – every page offers a description of chocolate to melt in the mouths of chocoholics, francophiles, armchair gourmets, cookbook readers, and lovers of passion everywhere.

Illuminating Peter Mayle’s South of France with a touch of Laura Esquivel’s magic realism, Chocolat is a timeless novel of a straitlaced village’s awakening to joy and sensuality. In tiny Lansquenet, where nothing much has changed in a hundred years, beautiful newcomer Vianne Rocher and her exquisite chocolate shop arrive and instantly begin to play havoc with Lenten vows. Each box of luscious bonbons comes with a free gift: Vianne’s uncanny perception of its buyer’s private discontents and a clever, caring cure for them. Is she a witch? Soon the parish no longer cares, as it abandons itself to temptation, happiness, and a dramatic face-off between Easter solemnity and the pagan gaiety of a chocolate festival.

Chocolat’s every page offers a description of chocolate to melt in the mouths of chocoholics, francophiles, armchair gourmets, cookbook readers, and lovers of passion everywhere. It’s a must for anyone who craves an escapist read, and is a bewitching gift for any holiday.

About the author:
Joanne Harris is a British author, whose books include fourteen novels, two cookbooks and many short stories. Her work is extremely diverse, covering aspects of magic realism, suspense, historical fiction, mythology and fantasy. She has also written a DR WHO novella for the BBC, has scripted guest episodes for the game ZOMBIES, RUN!, and is currently engaged in a number of musical theatre projects as well as developing an original drama for television.

In 2000, her 1999 novel CHOCOLAT was adapted to the screen, starring Juliette Binoche and Johnny Depp. She is an honorary Fellow of St Catharine’s College, Cambridge, and in 2013 was awarded an MBE by the Queen.

Her hobbies are listed in Who’s Who as ‘mooching, lounging, strutting, strumming, priest-baiting and quiet subversion’. She also spends too much time on Twitter; plays flute and bass guitar in a band first formed when she was 16; and works from a shed in her garden at her home in Yorkshire.

Website: joanne-harris.co.uk
Twitter: @Joannechocolat

Rating: 8/10
Genre: Romance
Book Name: Chocolat
Author: Joanne Harris
Pages: 306
Publication Year: 1999
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