Monday, August 19, 2013

Life's Finest - Chocolate, New Friends, and a Heart-A-Rama Show

Last week I noted a need for a small voyage on a pirate ship for weekend reading.  Straying from that just a bit, I found a nice band of gypsies, living on a caravan of barges.  In addition to obvious lure of the title, this book fed my magical realism sweet tooth.  Summer just seems the perfect time for this genre.  I had seen the movie, but, as in most cases of book v. film, the book wins.

Vienne and her daughter, Anouk, travel with the north wind, and when  the wind shift on Lenten season, they find themselves in a small,  up-tight village in the south of France.  The village is steeped in religion, and governed by a magistrate who has high expectations of others, while harboring some personal secrets.

Although Vienne never verbally identifies herself as a witch, the community assumes she is one due to her uncanny ability to read exactly what people need to change their lives, sending them on the road to happiness.  Her brand of magic reminded  me a bit of the feather scene in "Dumbo" - that sort of "you had it in you all the time" message.

Vienne's enchantments affect the entire village as well.  The randomness with which she appears in the village, along with her audacity of opening a tempting chocolate shop during Lent stir the suspicions of the villagers to the point where she and her daughter are shunned.  Vienne stands her ground, and little by little, people's assumptions are challenged, and they begin to think for themselves.  Revelations, both good and bad, come to light, changing mindsets in the process.

What about those pirates?  For a brief time, I thought that Raus, the gypsy king, would be the only source of happiness in Vienne's life.  I was wrong.  When the winds again invited Vienne to move on, well....I guess you have to read the book.


In other exciting news, two of our friends have presented the world with fine new people!

Emily and Joey
Brendo and Juniper
Check out the Heart-A-Rama blog for photos of our September