Blog Tour Stop! The Strawberry Thief by Joanne Harris
I’m incredibly excited to be today’s stop for The Strawberry Thief!!
Before all else, I CLEARLY need to acknowledge how STUNNING the cover of this book is - honestly, I am such a sucker for a beautiful book cover, and the way the foil of the trees twinkles lent such a magical spin to this lovely book - this one is a keeper for my forever “pretty books” pile on my nightstand, that is FOR SURE!
I had no doubt I was going to love this book - I mean, this is the author of Chocolat we are talking about, which remains on of my all time favorite books (and a book that is guaranteed to leave me starving). The Strawberry Thief hit all the same perfect notes - I was transported entirely back to Lansquenet-sous-Tannes, in the chocolate shop with Vianne - only this time the town has accepted her and she is living a beautiful life.
Reading Joanne’s books is a bit like falling into an adult fairytale - the stories are close enough to home to feel real, believable and tangible; but they also have such a beautiful whimsical feel to them, like this town might exist in a slightly parallel universe to our own. I love that sense of wonder that I instantly engage with when I open a page of these stories.
In this newest chapter of Vianne’s life, the place that once rejected her, has finally become her home. With Rosette, her 'special' child, she runs her chocolate shop in the square, talks to her friends on the river, is part of the community. Even Reynaud, the priest, has become a friend.
But when old Narcisse, the florist, dies, leaving a parcel of land to Rosette and a written confession to Reynaud, the life of the sleepy village is once more thrown into disarray. The arrival of Narcisse's relatives, the departure of an old friend and the opening of a mysterious new shop in the place of the florist's across the square - one that mirrors the chocolaterie, and has a strange appeal of its own - all seem to herald some kind of change: a confrontation, a turbulence - even, perhaps, a murder...
This was the EXACT perfect combination of storylines for me - it didn’t feel like I was rehashing Chocolat over again, but I love, love, LOVE revisiting the characters. In what is a surprising twist, this story has suspenseful twists all its own - which means that as per my usual suspense policy, I won’t say too much as to not ruin the story for the readers to come.
What I do want to say is that I LOVE seeing the characters develop, change, mature, grow and continue down their paths. Joanne has such undeniable talent at creating a chemistry between her characters and the reader, so that you feel as though you are simply catching up on the lives of old friends. Her writing style reminds me so much of Louise Penny and her specific and uncanny skill at making Three Pines feel like home. Lansquenet-sous-Tannes feels a bit like a home for me now, I want to move there and become part of the fabric of the town I know so well.
This might be one of the hardest books I’ve ever had to review simply because I want to gush paragraph after paragraph of all the things I love about this story and about Joanne’s writing style. But this book is magic, and its a specific kind of magic that honestly deserves to be devoured without hints or expectations. It is a magic that winds itself into you until you are fully emotionally invested in these people, this town and the outcomes for all of them. It is a magic that should never be stolen by someone else’s opinions of the book before you have a chance to create your own thoughts.
So I will leave you with this - I adore this book, with my whole heart. This is a book I will re-read and re-read and re-read. This is a book you should WITHOUT QUESTION have on your summer reading pile. And when you are done, come talk to me and we can gush together.
Thanks so much to Compulsive Reads for inviting me to take part on this awesome tour! Be sure to check out the other stops to find out more about this wicked good book!