Jill Furedy's Reviews > Blackberry Wine

Blackberry Wine by Joanne Harris
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's review
Jun 13, 2012

liked it
Read in June, 2012

Unlike Chocolat, these characters couldn't hold their own, which is funny since the book is set near Lansquenet and the charcters from Chocolat hover in the sidelines throughout the story. Josephine and Caro and Georges Clairmont are the main people who interact with Jay, though Roux darts through various scenes as well. But Roux was never as charismatic in the book as he was in the movie, so I didn't mind his non-impact here..though it just seemed like odd name dropping by the author to continually mention his presence.
This book started off slowly, but towards the middle I thought it was picking up and it began to grow on me. Unfortunately, that didn't carry through to the ending. From the beginning Jay is rather unlikeable, he's a blocked writer, churning out books he's not proud of, dating a woman he doesn't care for, and his flashbacks mostly emphasize his sullen, cowardly personality. Joe seems like he might have been interesting had he been a developed character and not just a device to propel Jay forward. Marise was fine as a neighbor, but even as her backstory filled in, she wasn't strong enough to be a lead character much less a love interest. After my disappointment in Vianne and Roux's relationship in Chocolat and again in The Girl With No Shadow, I'm not sure Harris has any interest in building the chemistry necessary to make a compelling love story. Marise's daughter Rosa, also didn't live up to her potential. Her story leads to the only real action in the book, but as the events seem to be leading to an actual climax, it just fizzles out. Jay appears to duck the potential conflict, living up to his cowardice from his youth, and Mireille's story abruptly vanishes. If the ending had been strong, I could have forgiven the lackluster beginning. But the ending was frustrating and the middle wasn't strong enough to hold the whole thing up. Makes me less eager to read another of her books, but I'm still willing to try one more.
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Rebecca I totally agree!

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