An ex-library stock read, The Lollipop Shoes was the 63rd book read for my 100+ Reading Challenge.
THE LOLLIPOP SHOES (Known as The Girl With No Shadow in the USA) by JOANNE HARRIS.
Seeking refuge and anonymity in the cobbled streets of Montmartre, Yanne and her daughters, Rosette and Annie, live peacefully, if not happily, above their little chocolate shop. Nothing unusual marks them out; no red sachets hang by the door. The wind has stopped - at least for a while. Then into their lives blows Zozie de l'Alba, the lady with the lollipop shoes, and everything begins to change.....
But this new friendship is not what it seems. Ruthless, devious, and seductive, Zozie de l'Alba has plans of her own - plans that will shake their world to pieces. And with everything she loves at stake, Yanne must face a difficult choice; to flee, as she has done so many times before, or to confront her most dangerous enemy ..... Herself.
.... Outer back cover.
FIRST SENTENCE: (Chapter 1): It is a relatively little-known fact that, over the course of a single year, about twenty million letters are delivered to the dead.
MEMORABLE MOMENT (Page 480): She's the wind that blows at the turn of the year. She's the sound of one hand clapping. She's the lump in your mother's breast. She's the absent look in your daughter's eyes. She's the cry of the cat. She's in the confessional. She's hiding inside the black pinata. But most of all she is simply Death; greedy old Mictecacihuatl herself, Santa Muerte, the Eater of Hearts, most terrible of the Kindly Ones.
KEEP IT OR NOT?: Yes, this is one for the shelves.
A sort of follow on from the author's CHOCOLAT, The Lollipop Shoes(which takes place four years after the events at Lanquenet-sous-Tannes) could be read as a stand alone novel but to get the best out of it I would highly recommend that Chocolat be read first - it has been several years since I last read it and I know I would have benefited from re-reading it before reading this 'second' instalment.
A much larger book of 571 pages The Lollipop Shoes is well written, a magical story that somehow manages to be modern and, yet at the same time, strangely old fashioned. Full of wonderfully written characters all of whom had their own story to tell it was almost like meeting up with old friends, seeing how things that were hinted at in Chocolat developed ...... or didn't as the case might be.
To be honest though I did not enjoy this nearly as much as Chocolat and found myself quite disappointed by Vianne (now known as Yanne)in that the author did not take the opportunity to delve much further into her psyche. A much better, though far from likable character, was Zozie - flamboyant, fascinating and more than a little scary, she was a joy to read.
Narrated by the three main characters, Vianne/Yanne, Anouk (now Annie) and newcomer, Zozie, the story, on the whole, was easy to follow except for one or two occasions towards the end when the story seemed to waver and I admit I found my mind wondering.
Interspersed with stories that Yanne/Vianne was told as a child by her mother whilst this was interesting I'm not convinced if it added anything to the book or just made a relatively long novel unnecessarily longer.
All in all a good read. If you enjoyed Chocolat then you might enjoy this. And if you haven't read Chocolat then I recommend you do so.