Peaches for Father Francis-Joanne Harris

Peaches for Father Francis

Joanne Harris

Viking, Oct 2 2012, $26.99

ISBN: 9780670026364

 

Several years have passed since Vianne Rocher brought her magical sweetness to Lansquenet, France (see Chocolat).  She now happily lives on a houseboat in Paris with her husband Roux and her daughters (Anouk and Rosette) with no plans to return to the village where the clergy condemned her and her confectionary delights. 

 

However, her Lansquenet ally, Armande sends her a letter stating the villagers desperately need her magical sugary intervention.  Now deceased, Armande offers no further explanation as she knew her friend would come.  Vianne, accompanied by her children, arrives in Lansquenet where she learns her most fervent adversary Father Francis Reynaud needs her help as the Bishop has replaced him with a Microsoft priest.  After publically arguing with the Imam of Les Marauds, Reynaud was accused of setting fire to a Muslim fundamentalist girls’ school established by Inès Bencharki, sister to the Imam’s son-in-law; ironically in Vianne’s candy shop.  Reynaud saved the Imam’s granddaughter Alyssa from drowning and Vianne takes her into her temporary home.  As the priest and the confectioner team up, people begin to die leading to deeper trouble between the two religions.

 

The latest Rocher tale (see The Girl with No Shadow) focuses on the fractured relationship between the long-time Christian residents and the new Muslim community. For the most part, the storyline lacks action as the plot centers on the conflict between the two religions until an incredible climax.  Still fans will enjoy the Chocolat mage using her magic to foster more than just tolerance of others; she wants everyone to embrace each other as Vianne believes both cultures bring positives to a melting pot in which the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. 

 

Harriet Klausner

 

 

 

An Amish Holiday

Cynthia Keller

Ballantine, Oct 30 2012, $14.00

ISBN: 9780345528766

 

“An Amish Christmas.”  James Hobart makes a lot of money so that he, his stay at home wife Meg and their three kids (teenagers Lizzie and Will and tweener Sam) live in luxury beyond what he brings in.  When he makes several bad investment decisions after being fired, the family’s finances collapses.  Swinging between self-debasing and denial James faces irate Meg who blames him for their tsuris, argumentative spoiled teens, fearful Sam and scornful relatives.  Adding to their woes is an accident in Pennsylvania as the five were moving to upstate New York.  Stranded the Lutz family welcomes them into their Amish home.  This is an engaging reprint of a holiday tale that compares internal relationships between a selfish materialistic family to that of a nurturing caring family.

 

“A Plain and Fancy Christmas.”  Gil and pregnant Nina Lawrence were traveling through Lancaster County, Pennsylvania when she went into labor. She gave birth to her daughter Ellie before the trio continued on to New York. Also in the hospital giving birth is Amish Leah King who with her husband Isaac name their child Rachel.  Nurse Violet Thompson realized her husband the physician mixed up the babies.  Over three decades later, a dying Violet tells the families of the error. Both are hesitant about meeting their biological parents. Although switched at birth is not a new premise, Cynthia Keller provides an interesting spin to the nurturing vs. naturing debate with the cultural differences between the two families in this reprint.

 

Harriet Klausner

 

 

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