Welcome to the book blog of writer and creative writing tutor, Diane Paul.

Thanks to the publishers and kind PR people who send me books and releases about their clients' books for review. Press releases and review copies of fiction and non-fiction are always welcome. (No sci-fi, fantasy or erotica please.)

Due to the barrage of requests from self-published authors for reviews, I'm unable to deal with them all, although I'm sometimes drawn to non-fiction for the subject matter. And because I love print books, the smell, the touch of the paper and the sight of the words, I don't have an electronic reader or review e-books.

E-mail to: bookblogforbookworms@keywordeditorial.com for the postal address.

My writing website: http://www.keywordeditorial.com/

Thursday, 3 March 2011

Joanne's Lollipop Shoes - great fun and welcome change!

Keep starting books and abandoning them, so no point in blogging them. One was such a tale of disaster and misery, I couldn't bear to read further than Chapter 7. Another - authored by a major prizewinner - was the second book I'd given up by the same writer, whose style obviously doesn't appeal to me. Confusion over who was speaking, including the merging of some dialogue into the prose sentences with no speech marks, made it impossible to follow. Lots of brilliant research shone from the pages but out of character dialogue and tone put an end to it by Chapter 5.

I needed to be cheered up, so I turned to Joanne Harris and entered a world of witches and finger spells, magic and chocolates, suspended my disbelief for a few days and had a great time. The Lollipop Shoes (Black Swan) is a 2008 edition that I found in the library - thought I would support my local before the council added it to its list of closures. Kids ran around screaming and shouting, so I didn't stay long, popped into Cafe Rouge for a quiet drink and a read but kids were running around screaming there too. What is going on out there? Shades of Lord of the Flies?

Witchcraft in the chocolaterie

I come from a chocoholic family, famous in the area for its chocolate shop. So another chocolaterie story, especially in Paris, had more appeal than misery and confusion. Chocolat heroine, Yanne Charbonneau (aka Vianne Rocher) takes over an old cafe in Montmartre and turns it into the chocolaterie, continuing to run it after the owner, Marie-Louise Poussin has died. Her 11-year-old daughter Annie (aka Anouk) is being bullied at school and 4-year-old Rosette can't speak and is learning to sign. Business isn't so good. They are all a little witchy.

The status quo is shaken when witch's daughter with a past, Zozie de l'Alba (not her real name) with the pink-streaked hair and red shoes gradually ingratiates herself with Annie and from there to Yanne. This is all calculated to wreak havoc for them under the guise of friendship. Yanne absorbs Zozie into their lives and into the shop, where she becomes indispensable. Zozie makes finger spells and changes people, some for the better, winning everyone's confidence. Annie, with Zozie's support makes some finger signs of her own, beats the bullies and the shop prospers.

Landlord, prosperous snob Thierry le Tresset wants to marry Yanne but the sudden re-appearance of Roux, Yanne's former lover from Chocolat in Lanquesnet throws her into such confusion that at first she doesn't notice what is going on under her nose with Zozie taking over her children. Thierry is viciously jealous of him and Roux has no idea he has fathered Rosette. The story is told from three different viewpoints - Yanne, Zozie and Annie - which gives it an added dimension.

This is a fairy tale for adults and fairy tales can be scary, even though they may have happy endings. Just the thought of rum truffles and three layer chocolate cake was enough to glue me to the page, together with the evocative descriptions of the Montmartre I once knew and traipsed around; the characters looking artistically pretentious in corners of cafes in the Place du Tertre brought it all back. I remember one who always dressed in a cloak and a pseud artist's hat like Aristide Bruant in Lautrec's painting and the stylish transvestites reeking of Chanel No 5 were easily mistaken for models until the sound of a baritone voice hit the air as they passed. I won't go on. The Lollipop Shoes was great fun, a welcome change and took my mind off other things.

Latest news

Joanne is just putting the finishing touches to her latest book, Runelight and this should be out around October this year. And Vianne Rocher might just be on her way back to Lanquesnet... Joanne is working on a screenplay adaptation of Lollipop Shoes to offer for production. She is a great champion of the continuation of libraries so how apt that I should borrow Lollipop Shoes from one. You can log on to her website at: http://www.joanne-harris.co.uk/

1 comment:

LindyLouMac said...

I am a great fan of the writing of Joanne Harris and throughly enjoyed The Lollipop Shoes as a sequel to Chocolat. Chocolat also made an excellent film so I hope TLS is accepted for production!