Love. Such a simple word…such an immense definition. I have said many times that I get frustrated when people throw the word ‘love’ around. I feel like that word holds so much weight that I have trouble using it when I honestly don’t mean it. What frustrates me even more is how Hollywood interprets love. The sugar-coated boy meets girl story is so overused, so common, so expected, that it fails to deliver…for me, anyway. However, once in a while a movie comes along that completely sweeps me away, heart and soul. Even if it is the same format of boy meets girl, it’s told in a way that’s so meaningful, so real, so relatable, that I can’t help but fall into the trap. Sometimes a movie or story comes along that’s so passionate and so full of romance that I find myself mentally and emotionally absorbed. Off the top of my head two movies come to mind that have done this for me: Casablanca and Chocolat.
I first fell in love with Chocolat after reading the book by Joanne Harris. The romance of France seasoned with Vianne Rocher’s elegant and decadent chocolate was the most indulgent experience I’ve ever had reading a novel. So, when word spread that it was being turned into a movie, I almost died. When I heard it would star Juliette Binoche and Johnny Depp, I was speechless.
The movie blew me away, but my heart still belonged to the words of Joanne Harris. Little did I know that, hiding amongst her many other novels, lied a sequel to Chocolat. A tale full of magic, romance, chocolate galore, and love…love of all kinds. Love like it’s meant to be told.
It’s more than four years later when The Girl With No Shadow begins. Vianne Rocher and her little daughter, Anouk, have moved on from that little town in France and are following the Wind once more to lands unseen and places unvisited. Hoping to make a fresh start for herself, Vianne changes her name and moves her family (now consisting of her and two daughters) to Paris’s Montmartre district. Once again, Vianne opens a chocolaterie and does her best to keep her and her family afloat. When business slows she is forced to rely on her landlord and fiancée, Thierry, to help support her family.
When the North Wind brings in a visitor to the shop, a woman by the name of Zozie de I’Alba, things begin to change dramatically. Both Vianne and Anouk fall for Zozie’s charm immediately and Vianne asks her to stay as an employee in the chocolate shop. Her enigmatic personality seems to be just what the chocolaterie is looking for, as more and more customers come to taste Vianne’s creations. Soon after Zozie and Anouk form a strong friendship and realize they might have more in common that what appears on the surface.
Eventually, Zozie becomes quite taken with Anouk and she yearns for more than just the friendship of this family. When Zozie’s true objectives become clear, it’s up to Vianne to save her daughter, her family, and herself.
Oh, and what about Roux…that super handsome and rugged pirate? Let’s just say he makes quite the appearance…and is not too happy to hear that Vianne is now engaged.
The Girl With No Shadow is told through the perspectives of Vianne, Anouk, and Zozie…each woman getting their own short chapter. The book reads like a diary between the three of them, told from the perspective of these three women over the days between Halloween and Christmas. This book has something for everyone—drama, romance, mystery, comedy, magic, thrills, and love. If you are a fan of Chocolat in book or movie form, you will love—and I mean love—this book.
If you’re interested in The Girl With No Shadow but have not read Chocolat, I highly suggest you read Chocolat first…even if you’ve seen the movie, I think reading the book will add to the experience.
The Girl With No Shadow is a perfect book for this time of year. I often wanted nothing more than to jump inside and live in this magical and fantastic world of Vianne Rocher.
COMING UP NEXT: The next book on the list is a doozy…so it might take me two weeks to read it. It’s been sitting on my shelf for about 3 years now and has yet to be read…but I’m on a mission to read every book I own and it starts with this one…a book that’s “…full of orphans, decadence, flouncy skirts, greed, deception, amnesia, incest, murder, and all manner of meditation on sexual identity…Like some inspired collaboration between Charles Dickens and Pedro Almodovar.” Oh, boy.
Looking for a new book to read? Check in every Friday for a “Bee Happy” post, where I share reviews of books I’ve read or other book-themed lists.