Five Quarters of the Orange by Joanne Harris
|Five Quarters of the Orange by Joanne Harris|
|Category: Women's Fiction|
|Reviewer: Sue Fairhead|
|Summary: Framboise has a terrible secret from the past, which is gradually revealed short review: a cleverly-written book that gradually unfolds a mystery from the past that involves Framboise, a woman in her sixties.|
|Buy? Maybe||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 368||Date: January 2002|
|Publisher: Black Swan|
'Five Quarters of the Orange' is the third novel I read by Joanne Harris. Like Chocolat and Blackberry Wine, it's set in rural France. There's also a lot of cooking described in it. Unlike the others, however, it's a complex and sometimes dark story with frequent flashbacks to World War II when France was occupied by the Nazis.
Moreover, it's not about young people - or not much. The main character, Framboise, is in her sixties as the book starts. She tells us that she's settled into her old family house, but under her married name, without any of the neighbours knowing who her family was. She hints at some terrible event in the past that made her an outcast; as a hook for the reader it worked, making me instantly intrigued to find out what the terrible event was . As the book gradually unfolds, with scenes from the present intertwined with the past, we learn what the secret is, and how she eventually deals with it.
It took a while to get going, but by the time I was half-way through I was very involved in both the plot and the people. It was cleverly written, with information revealed a little like that of a mystery story, and I thought that the eventual climax worked very well. It was thought-provoking in places, too; a book I thought about about from time to time for a few weeks after reading.
Further reading: other Joanne Harris, a different type of book with a gradually revealed past secret is Things to Make and Mend by Ruth Thomas; another is The Golden Cup by Marcia Willett. You might also enjoy L'Auberge by Julia Stagg or The Time of Their Lives by Maeve Haran.
You can read more book reviews or buy Five Quarters of the Orange by Joanne Harris at Amazon.co.uk Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
You can read more book reviews or buy Five Quarters of the Orange by Joanne Harris at Amazon.com.
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