Flash Reviews: Novels (3rd June 2014)

Peaches for Monsieur le Cure by Joanne Harris ****

‘Peaches for Monsieur le Cure’ by Joanne Harris

NB.: This is the last book in the Chocolat trilogy.

Storyline: The novel takes place in two locations – Paris, and Lansquenet, where Vianne Rocher and her family travel under the premise of a holiday.  A whole community of immigrants is living in once peaceful Lansquenet, and some of the villagers are not happy about their arrivals, or their creation of a new community which views itself as ‘separate’ from the main village.

1. Peaches for Monsieur le Cure follows on marvellously from The Lollipop Shoes, the second book in the trilogy, and marvellously recaptures the important details from the first two books.
2. The novel is told from two perspectives – Vianne’s, and that of the village’s cure, Monsieur Reynaud.  Harris writes naturally using both voices, and they are distinct from one another throughout, even where their stories converge.
3. Harris is skilled at spinning smaller stories around the central one.  Here, she has created a natural progression for her characters, and has also touched on many important issues in present day France.

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Summer Lightning by P.G. Wodehouse ****
NB.: I read this because my boyfriend and I went to see a Jeeves and Wooster play in London on his birthday, and wanted to see what Wodehouse’s work was like.
Storyline: Prize pig the Empress of Blandings has disappeared, and there are ‘suspects a-plenty’.

1. I was expecting an amusing and farcical comedy of manners, which is essentially what Summer Lightning is.  We meet many characters who find themselves in and around the estate of Blandings Castle, many of whom are rather privileged beings, and some of whom are rather annoying.
2. I found the whole silly and rather lighthearted, but it was certainly entertaining enough.
3. Wodehouse is the favourite author of my beloved Stephen Fry, which is surely reason enough to read one of his books.

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The King’s General by Daphne du Maurier ****
Storyline: “Honor Harris is only 18 when she first meets Richard Grenvile, proud, reckless – and utterly captivating. But following a riding accident, Honor must reconcile herself to a life alone. As Richard rises through the ranks of the army, marries and makes enemies, Honor remains true to him, and finally discovers the secret of Menabilly.”

‘The King’s General’ by Daphne du Maurier (Virago)

1. I love du Maurier’s work, as she never fails to sweep me away into other places and periods. The King’s General is no different, and its vivid scenes and settings are so very memorable.
2. The historical setting which she has chosen here lends itself so well to her plot.  I love the way in which she has based her characters within The King’s General upon real beings.
3. The characters are all so well fleshed out, and du Maurier’s writing and choice of viewpoint is engaging on so many levels.

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