So, in my eagerness to post about the 3rd Chocolat book, Peaches for Father Francis, it took me a few days to realize… I haven’t posted about the 2nd book yet! So, slightly out of order, here it is: The Girl With No Shadow! Many, many apologies for being so absentminded!
Early in the year, I was on a Chocolat kick, and The Girl With No Shadow is the sequel to Chocolat, so naturally, I gobbled it up. It is set several years after the first book in Monmatre – one of my favorite neighborhoods in Paris. I don’t say this very often about sequels, but I’m saying it here – the second book is better than the first!
Vianne Rocher and her daughters have moved to a small, not completely successful chocolaterie in Monmatre and are struggling. Vianne is no longer making chocolates by hand but is instead ordering them in. Business is bad and Vianne is exhausted. Anouk is now nearly a teenager – which is cool, because she gets to be part narrator in this book which is told from 3 perspectives, but she’s starting to be more private and is at times resentful of her mother. Rosette, Anouk’s little sister, is nonverbal and likely has something on the Autism spectrum. Roux is nowhere in sight, but a new man, Thierry, is. Finally, a stranger, Zozie de l’Alba roars onto the scene and to say she shakes things up in the Rocher family is an understatement (Zozie is another narrator of the book).
I LOVED this book. It is much darker than its predecessor, but the result is a book that had me reading late into the night nearly every night and carrying around with me so I could catch a chapter or two in slow moments. It’s been a really long time since I had a book that I could.not.put.down and this is definitely one of those. It’s a big jump from where you left off in Lansquenet at the end of Chocolat – and Harris really captures a side of Monmatre that as a tourist you never get to see. Nonetheless, Harris’s real skill in writing is her well developed characters – not just the main ones, but their neighbors and friends they meet throughout the course of the book. Just as in Chocolat, the minor characters here don’t disappoint.
I highly HIGHLY recommend this book – just make sure you read Chocolat first! The Girl With No Shadow wouldn’t be the same without it. I give it 5 stars – I will definitely be reading it again! ★★★★★