Paperback: The Lollipop Shoes, by Joanne Harris

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The Independent Culture

Chocolate and Johnny Depp both guaranteed Joanne Harris's 1997 novel Chocolat a long-term stay in the bestseller lists. Its long-awaited sequel, The Lollipop Shoes, presses yet more buttons in the shape of a pair or red velvet slingbacks. It's five years on, and Vianne Rocher and her two daughters, Anouk and Rosette, have moved into a flat above a chocolaterie in Montmartre. Despite the family's attempts to renounce their unconventional past – Vianne is considering settling down with her landlord – they've been found out by Zozie de l'Alba, a witch of the old school. A shape-changer who steals identities, Zozie has her eyes trained on 11-year-old Anouk and her yet untested powers. Appearing in the guise of a child-friendly adult – irresistible in jangling jewels and ruby slippers – Zozie tiptoes her way into the young girl's affections.In Harris's supernatural follow-up, black magic has taken over from both romance and confectionary. The novel doesn't end in a clinch, but in a battle of the broomsticks played out over the rooftops of Notre Dame. "Try me, Taste me, Test me," whisper the truffles in Vianne's shop, and once again it's hard not to fall for Harris's storytelling charms. For non-believers – in hocus-pocus or heels – Harris's eighth novel might prove something of a revelation.