Just a few days before Lent, a flamboyant woman and her daughter open a chocolate shop in a small French town and create a stir with their seemingly magical sweet-treat remedies for life’s problems.
Chocolat is, on the surface, about temptation but is more about need.
Vianne arrives in a French village, opening up her decadant Chocolatierie just as Lent is beginning, much to the annoyance of the local parish priest, who is attempting to preach about sacrifice and penance.
However Vianne has a knack of knowing what people need even if they dont necessarily want it – so ensuring that the grandmother is in the sho when her grandson (who she hasnt see in ages due to be estranged from the boy’s mother) arrives to do drawing; playing a little matchmaking between to village elders; making an abusive husband mend his ways to ensure that his wife returns (with a little help from the priest). Meanwhile she is attempting to escape her past, something made more difficult by the arrival of the travellers on the edge of town…
The book has a “lost in time” or old world feel, so that I thought it had been set in the 1950s. However, the sequel “The lollipop shoes” is set very much in the present day (with many of the same characters), so placing it very much in a time and space. I think I preferred Chocolat in not having a specified time frame, thereby adding to the mysticism..