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Blackberry Wine: from Joanne Harris, the bestselling author of Chocolat, comes a tantalising, sensuous and magical novel which takes us back to the charming French village of Lansquenet

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In 2000, the book won Best Novel in both foreign and international categories at the Salon du Livre Gourmand in Périgueux, France. A stubborn, unhappy old lady, she detests Marise, believing that she has destroyed her son Tony's life, ultimately driving him to suicide.

It's a small grain of intrigue surrounded by a massive bowl of poetic vegetables, for better of worse. The copious descriptions were a bit much and repetitive: how many times did I have to hear about the canal, or that something was yeasty- an odd word to be given such prominence? All in all, a pleasant book, and ideal to read when there's a lot going on, since it was quite possible to read a couple of short chapters at night, and not feel the need to keep going until the early hours.Her childhood took place during the Nazi occupation, causing more than typical difficulties in her young years. It's only a matter of not losing hope completely and let others surprise you, with one foot in the Earth and the other one suspended in the air, letting the wind blow where it has to.

The first time I tried to read Blackberry Wine apparently wasn't the right time to try to read this book. There, in that strange and yet strangely familiar place, Jay hopes to re-create the magic of those golden childhood summers. I’m a huge Harris fan, but somehow this is the first of her novels I’ve read with a main male protagonist. Framboise, having had a tenuous relationship with her less than ideal mother (abusive, actually) all her life, she is surprised to uncover redeeming secrets written in code in a beloved cookbook that belonged to her.

There is still magic and whimsy, but it is without the darkness of the controversy between magic and the church. One is situated in Yorkshire twenty years earlier than the other, which is set in the fictional village of Lansquenet-sous-Tannes, the setting of her previous book, Chocolat. Their mother, despite showing no real love for them their entire lives, covers up for them when she finds out.

As great readers ourselves, we wanted to offer a way to purchase the books we recommend about France and the French (and wine).Blackberry Wine is written as a piece of commercial fiction, but has definite elements of fantasy that feel out of place. Joanne Harris is an Anglo-French author, whose books include fourteen novels, two cookbooks and many short stories.

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