Five Quarters of the Orange, Paperback
4 out of 5 (14 ratings)


Beyond the main street of Les Laveuses runs the Loire, smooth and brown as a sunning snake - but hiding a deadly undertow beneath its moving surface.

This is where Framboise, a secretive widow, plies her culinary trade at the creperie - and lets her memory play strange games.

As her nephew attempts to exploit the growing success of the country recipes Framboise has inherited from her mother, a woman remembered with contempt by the villagers, memories of a disturbed childhood during the German Occupation flood back, and expose a past full of betrayal, blackmail and lies.




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Showing 1 - 5 of 14 reviews.

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Review by

This is a powerful and moving book about tragedy and redemption (at least I think so!). I'm always amazed at novels where children set in motion such catastrophic events. We like to think of children as being innocent - and they are by virtue of their inexperience - but boy, can an innocent do some horrendous things without even realizing it. I enjoyed the structure of this novel - a story within a story - and thought it was done well.

Review by

This is my very favorite kind of book -- the kind where watching a compelling character grow and change is the essence of the plot. More than anything, I wanted to unravel the mystery of the main character's bitterness and find out who she would become at the end of the novel. It's rare for a dark book to naturally arrive at a hopeful ending, but this one manages it well -- one more feature that makes it unique and outstanding.

Review by

Framboise is running a creperie in a small village in rural France. She spent her childhood years during WWII in this village, but nobody knows. She now lives under another name, to protect a dark secret in her past. One day her nephew and his wife appear at her doorstep, to ask for the use of her name and recipes. When she refuses - to protect her true identity - she quickly realises that they will stop at nothing to get those recipes. But she is not easily defeated. And while she struggles against her nephew, she tells us her story..... Very good book, recommended! Great storytelling.

Review by

Not mine - on loan from Sara. The only Joanne Harris I have read but it was reminiscent of the film of Chocolat. An elegantly written book, not unlike McEwan's Atonement, with an aging lady looking back to her childhood as the youngest child, Framboise, in a Loire valley village during German occupation. Key characters are her brother Cassis, her sister Reine-Claude, her mother Mirabelle Dartigen, Tomas Liebniz, Old Mother - an enormous ominous pike - and Paul, childhood friend and old companion. Themes like mother-daughter relationships and food run throughout the book and make enjoyable reading while you're in it, but it certainly isn't a book I finished with a wow. Parts reminded me of other things, the villagers reminded me of Lars von Trier's Dogville, but their rage ended so much more cleanly than here. Bits really jarred, the mother's journal, Paul as an older man, but the writing itself, including some very useful recipes (!) was gripping at the time.

Review by

Yet another excellent book by one of my favourite authors. The story of Framboise and her family, the book flits backwards and forwards between present day and wwii France.

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