The Girl With No Shadow

September 26, 2010

The Girl With No Shadow
By: Joanne Harris
444 Pages

The wind has always dictated Vianne Rocher's every move, buffeting her from the French village of Lansquenet-sous-Tannes to the crowded streets of Paris. Cloaked in a new identity, that of widow Yanne Charbonneau, she opens a chocolaterie on a small Montmartre street, determined to still the wind at last and keep her daughters, Anouk and baby Rosette, safe. But the weather vane soon turns, and Zozie de l'Alba blows into their live. Charming and enigmatic, Zozie provides the brightness that Yanne's life needs as her vivavity and bold lollipop shoes dazzle rebellious and impressionable preadolescent Anouk. But beneath their new friend's benevolent facade lies a ruthless treachery for devious, seductive Zozie has plans that will shake their world to pieces.

I LOVED this book's predecessor, Chocolat! When I found out about this book I couldn't wait to visit the characters I came to love. What I got was another book that needed to leave well enough alone. I think the book would have been a better service to a whole new set of characters instead of doing the disservice to previously successful characters.

The book takes place 4 years after Chocolat. Anouk is now older and dealing with cliques in her school. The baby Vianne was pregnant with at the end of Chocolat was born, Rosette, and refuses to talk at 4 years old. Vianne is now using a different name and living a whole new life for the sake of her girls.

Everything I loved about Vianne's personality and the way she interacted with people has seemed to have been lost in those 4 years. While, eventually, she gets most of it back, it was not a welcome surprise, and a little too late for me. She becomes involved, and later engaged, with a man who is selfish, snobby, and a jerk. You realise very early that she's only with him because of the stable life he represents and would offer the girls, but he's a jerk to them. Their ultimate split up was welcomed with open arms.

Chocolat's bad guy was the Priest, The Girl With No Shadow's is Zozie. She has made a life for herself by stealing other people's ids, and sometimes taking their lives. Her plan for Vianne is to take over her life. So the whole book is watching her do this. Seeing how she charms the customers, Vianne, and goes after Anouk as her keepsake.

Overall, I was disappointed. I had such high hopes for this book, and none of them were realised. The next time I miss these characters I'll just reread Chocolate.

Rating: Borrow From Library


Irena @ This Miss Loves to Read on September 27, 2010 at 12:55 AM said...

Great review! I just love Joanne Harris and her Chocolate books.

Irena @ This Miss Loves to Read on September 27, 2010 at 12:56 AM said...

Oops, Chocolat.:)

Jen on September 27, 2010 at 2:48 PM said...

Thank you! I loved Chocolat!! Hope all is well with you!

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