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Holy Fools

3.59  ·  Rating details ·  7,410 ratings  ·  471 reviews
In seventeenth-century France, against a backdrop of witch trials, regicide and religious frenzy, Juliette, one-time actress and rope-dancer, seeks refuge with her young daughter in the remote abbey of Saint Marie-de-la-Mer, and reinvents herself as Soeur Auguste.

Until a new Abbess is appointed, bringing with her a ghost from Juliette's past, a man she has every reason to
Paperback, 430 pages
Published 2004 by Black Swan (first published 2003)
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3.59  · 
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 ·  7,410 ratings  ·  471 reviews

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I have mixed feelings about this book. It was a nice contrast and complement after The Pillars of the Earth , as that book was set in a monastery in England and this one in a convent in France, though 500 years later. I have not read Chocolat by Harris, but of course I have seen the movie and thoroughly enjoyed it.

This book is quite different—much darker and without a satisfactory ending (in my opinion). I liked the character development of Juliette and the fact that she found peace and comunit
Jun 02, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Although I really enjoy reading Harris’s works, I’m beginning to wonder if she has something against the Catholic church. In the majority of the books I’ve read written by her, someone or something from the Catholic church ends up being the baddie, and the Church itself is inevitably portrayed as corrupted and judgmental. I’m not Catholic, but I’d hope that someone who is as lovely an author as she is could branch out a little in her pool for villains.
This book, while still engaging in much magi
Nimue Brown
Aug 17, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A gorgeous, compelling story set in mediaeval France, Holy Fools has all the ingredients I love in Joanne Harris’s books. There’s a strong, complex heroine with pagan inclinations, a few villains, a slightly gothic setting, and a lot of less than comfortable reflections on the human condition. Harris has a very warts and all approach to portraying people. She doesn’t tend to do clear lines between the wholly good and the wholly bad, and I love this about her work.

One of the themes running throug
Zahra Dashti
May 18, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
کتاب لذت بخشی بود ، کشش خوبی داشت ، شخصیت های جدید و بدیع ، تغییر خلق و خوی شخصیت اصلی به خاطر مادر شدن و ....
کمی جسورانه هم بود. داستان جذابیت خاص خودش رو داشت اما ضعف هم داشت ، سرعت وقایع به نظرم کمی زیاد بود ، از طرفی معماها و اتفاقات و توضیحشون خیلی بیش از این توضیح لازم داشت. بعضی مواردش خوب بود ولی بعضی هاش رو کم توضیح داده بود و خواننده قانع نمی شد. البته چون کتاب ترجمه بود ، شاید هم بعضی موارد توضیح داده نشده به خاطر ممیزی و ...
ترجمه هم خوب و روان بود.
در کل داستان پرکشش و جذابی بود .
Ana Mardoll
Dec 27, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: ana-reviewed
Holy Fools / 0-552-77001-9

What happened here? I loved "Chocolat", and I adored "Five Quarters of the Orange". "Holy Fools", however, seems like it came from a completely different author. The book is acceptable, but not up to Harris' standards.

To start, the Mother-Daughter theme that Harris employs so well is deeply underdeveloped here as more of a plot device than anything else. There was a lot of potential here: a nun with a beloved daughter, raising her to be safe from the outside world and
Joanne Harris can spin a tale! I was totally captivated by this magical, medieval story that follows two adversaries who both love and vie with each other. Juliette is a high-wire artist who was raised as a gypsy. She seeks refuge at the Abbey of Sainte Marie-de-la-mer when she becomes pregnant with her baby Fleur. She enjoys the quiet life there, tending her herbs, etc., until she once again comes in contact with the Blackbird, the conniving and cruel, yet charming Guy LeMerle, who shows up dis ...more
Saleh MoonWalker
Onvan : Holy Fools - Nevisande : Joanne Harris - ISBN : 60559128 - ISBN13 : 9780060559120 - Dar 368 Safhe - Saal e Chap : 2003
Oct 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Not at all what I anticipated (from the blurb I have read online, I was expecting it to be more of a theatre based story), but I loved it either way.

I loved all the twists and turns in the story, and the fact I could never be sure what to think about each character other than Juliette, our main narrator, because everything that seemed to be true was uncovered to be false... especially behaviours of certain people.

What the novel said about sin, behaviours of people who are not void of sins, what
Sharon Bolton
Aug 15, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
‘Time’s black rosary counts the interminable seconds.’

In 17th Century France, Soeur Auguste lives a gentle, generous life in the remote island abbey of Sainte Marie-de-la-Mer, together with her daughter, Fleur. She is loved and valued by her sisters in faith, as much for her skills with medicinal plants as for her sweet and kindly nature. But Soeur Auguste is hiding a secret. She is not the impoverished widow of her ‘cover story,’ but Juliette, a one-time gypsy and circus performer, forced by th
Jan 17, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Magical tale based around one woman's travels and trials in the 17th century. As always Joanna Harris uses colourful prose. You can almost smell the mustiness of the nun's cell and feel the fear as Juliette navigates the high wire.
Shelby *trains flying monkeys*
I love Joanne Harris. I've yet to read one of her books I didn't like.
Soeur Auguste, once known for her stage name of "l'Ailée" (The Winged One) has found sanctuary at the Abbey of Sainte Marie-de-la-mer since 1605 when she arrived there pregnant and made a home for herself and daughter. The Reverend Mother was a kind and lax woman, and many of the sisters were not of a religious disposition, much like Soeur Auguste herself, which allowed her a comfortable position there, tending the herb garden and making healing potions for the sisters which she has learned how ...more
M. Gumiel
Jan 15, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Joanne Harris es una autora que me encanta, y este libro no ha sido una excepción. La ambientación está muy cuidada y la trama es intrigante y vertiginosa, pero lo mejor del libro, sin lugar a dudas, son los personajes. Todos ellos están muy bien desarrollados y son interesantes, cada uno a su modo. Además, las motivaciones de todos ellos son perfectamente comprensibles, muy humanas y viscerales. Sin duda, mi personaje favorito es Juliette, la protagonista; aunque he de decir que al final, la de ...more
The isolated convent of Ste. Marie de Mer is an ideal refuge for Juliette, once a gypsy player and the famous acrobat L'Ailee. She has fled to this obscure haven to bear her daughter, Fleur, and to heal from the betrayals of her former life. She most particularly wishes to forget La Merle, the Blackbird, leader of her former troupe, her sometime lover and her betrayer. But all idylls end, and with the death of kind and frail Mere Marie, the elderly abbess, come changes that will profoundly alter ...more
Well written. Joanne Harris tells a tale again that just flows. Her continuity, despite having depth of copy for different time periods within the same novel is superlative. And the foodie details and location placements are marvelous here, as well. But her Juliette and Fleur in the main? They didn't connect with me as much as they did within the former Harris books I have read. It's still an excellent tale and I'm sure quite possible too.

But I do find that there is a rather revisionist slant to
Easy to read and fun. Joanne Harris' books are always wonderful, though ever since reading Chocolat I tend to think of them like the Belgian chocolates shaped like shells: very sweet, but you can have too much. There are some gorgeous descriptions.

The themes and characters, though, are quite similar to those in Joanne Harris' other work. Juliette shares a lot of characteristics with Vianne; Fleur with Anouk. Juliette's cantrips and her herbs are very reminiscent of Vianne. LeMerle is very like M
Feb 01, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: French gypsies from the Renaissance
Recommended to Stacy by: Erin
One of the reasons I like to read historical fiction set in far away places is I learn about history and far away places. This book doesn't give that satisfaction because instead of doing historical and locational research, the author made stuff up. She sets much of the action in a nunnery on an island near the southern town Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer. I've actually been to this town, and there's no island and no nunnery there. I think she was inspired by the island monastary of Mont St. Michel, o ...more
Jan 05, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2002-2004
So, at least I've come to read Joanne Harris' newest book. It was just as great as the previous ones. What is clear is that JH always writes about the same themes: searching for a home, settling down, running away from the past, relationship to dead mother, mystical elements... an so on.

This time the book is set in yet an other time, year 1610, but is still in France of course. The main character is called Juliette, and is a former rope-dancer from a circus. She seeks refuge in a remote Abbey w
Marilyn Saul
Very disappointing book. Weak plot: young girl becomes infatuated with a rogue; she is forced to seek refuge and ends up in a loosely-run abbey; rogue finds her; she is still infatuated, even though he takes her daughter away...yada, yada, yada. What bothered me the most is that his voice was the same as her's - had trouble discerning who was speaking at any given moment. Characters were singularly unlikable. I characterize this book as a "contract crunch" book, where successful authors are forc ...more
Jun 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
I've been a Joanne Harris' reader for years, yet this is one of her books I've pushed off because it didn't seem interesting when I was younger. Perhaps it was better this way, as now I fully enjoyed it whereas a couple of years ago I probably wasn't mature enough to love it as much as I did now.

The first part of Holy Fools, told under Juliette’s point-of-view, was such a strong hook and beginning. For five years she’s been a refugee in the abbey of Sainte Marie-de-la-Mer with her daughter to es
Sep 19, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Sienna by: Goodreads
Shelves: read-2018
A strange & wonderful love story.
Liz Banks
Dec 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is sooo good! It is written by the author of Chocolat. This takes place in the early 1600's with most of the action in a convent in France. One of the interesting things about this book is hat there is wonderful characterization, but no character development. The main characters remain true to themselves and we ge to see how that plays out in differing situations. It is a mytry wheere you know who will do it but you don't know how or why. Awesome in every way.
Jan 06, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Why oh why did I keep reading this book? I thought it would get better and I got caught up in the characters. I regret the time spent! It was interesting yes, the time period of 1610 which I know nothing about. And I got taken in by the mysterious Juliette with her secrets hiding out in an out of the way abbey.

I found the writing difficult to follow. The main parts divided into 4 characters. BUT sometimes the narration in those parts was not that character so the reader needed to figure out who
This thriller wasn't really thrilling. The only thing that made me keep reading was that I wanted to know if Juliette will be reunited with her daughter Fleur in the end. Although I'm not a mother yet I can understand her loss. In the second part the story condensed and quickened, and therefore became a bit more interesting.
I didn't like the very ending, though. Cannot understand Juliettes decision on the last page.

I must admit that I don't like historic novles much in general, and it's quite co
One of the worst books I have ever read.
Boring and unlikeable characters, terrible writing-style (too much telling, too little showing), horribly paced and an overall mess.
There wasn't one character I felt a connection with (neither good nor bad) and the "mystery" left me cold. This meant that there was nothing I was interested in - I didn't care about the fates of the characters nor what ~grand finale~ the book is leading up to.
Simply a terrible book. My first and last book by this author.
May 14, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own
We read this one for book club June 2008. I really enjoyed this book. I liked it better than Chocolat. Harris has a great skill for putting words together. I really like the story and the writing style in this book. I gave it only four stars because the end kind of drove me nuts. The main character is suppose to be this really strong female, and she does something in the end that I think was beyond foolish, and maybe not so realistic.
Sep 09, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: hist-fic
Fools is darker than some of Harris' earlier work, and her treatment of the psychology of group dynamics here is intriguing and realistic.
Leanne Smith
Not as wonderful and French (although set in France) as the Chocolat series, but an original story with the wonderful magic that I always associate with Joanne Harris.
Oct 11, 2013 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
11.10.2013 1 of 22 books for $10 (fill a bag)
Jun 16, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015
lost the damn book with 20 pages left. unsatisfied.
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Sinopsis en Español // Synopsis in Spanish 1 2 Feb 13, 2015 09:26AM  

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Joanne Harris is an Anglo-French author, whose books include fourteen novels, two cookbooks and many short stories. Her work is extremely diverse, covering aspects of magic realism, suspense, historical fiction, mythology and fantasy. She has also written a DR WHO novella for the BBC, has scripted guest episodes for the game ZOMBIES, RUN!, and is currently engaged in a number of musical theatre pr ...more
“Love not often, but forever.” 95 likes
“From a certain height, everyone looks the same - men, women, villains, kings - as if rank and fortune were simply an accident of perspective.” 6 likes
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