Five Quarters of the Orange

Five Quarters of the Orange by Joanne Harris
Published:  2007 by Harper Perennial
Source:  Purchased
  Framboise Simon returns to the village of her childhood to live in her family’s farm and with the recipes of her mother is able to create a successful restaurant.  What the residents don’t know is Framboise’s link to the town and she would like to keep it that way.

  The story is told at two different periods — in the present, where Framboise works to keep to herself while her nephew and his wife attempt to coerce her into giving them the recipes Framboise’s mother passed on to her for use in their own restaurant; and during the war, where Framboise continually battles with her mother and makes friends with a German soldier in the area.  The narrative seems rather seamless and to me shows once again how much the past has an effect on the present.

  And although I didn’t really get a true feeling for most of the characters, I both loved and hated Framboise.  As a child, she really was rather cruel to her mother — triggering her migraines so that she could take off to the town with her older siblings, for example — but at the same time as an adult she was strong and feisty and stood up to her nephew’s efforts to ruin her business.

  For someone like me who is interested in both World War II and in French history/culture I enjoyed this book very much. 

  I have read this book for the “book with a number in the title” selection of the What’s in a Name 4 Reading Challenge.

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