Holy Fools: A Novel

Holy Fools: A Novel

by Joanne Harris
4.2 17

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Holy Fools 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 17 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Chocolat was a yummy confection, but this book is dark Chocolat: complex, intricate, lingering. I could not put it down. It has everything a great read should have: a central character, Juliette, who is so fully drawn that a reader almost slides into her skin, a plot that twists and turns in unexpected but entirely logical ways, and beautiful, evocative language that moves the story along smoothly and effortlessly. I also love Le Merle, the 'villain' of this piece . . . too often, villains are totally evil and despicable, but this one has dimension--we can slide into his skin too.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Holy Fools, Joanne Harris¿s latest book, explores themes that were introduced in Chocolat, as well as in Joanne¿s subsequent books, Blackberry Wine, Five Quarters of the Orange, and Coastliners: a strong woman and young daughter making a new life in a challenging place; the contrasts and interplay between the stoicism and superstitions of Catholicism against the color and baudiness of the theater, acrobats, and gypsies; the protection that women afford one another through loyalty and friendship. However, Harris takes this book in new directions: unlike her previous four novels, this is not a food story, and Holy Fools does not take place in modern times but in the 1600¿s. This time, the main character is former acrobat Juliette, now known as Soeur Auguste, raising herbs at first in the convent garden at the Abbey of Sainte Marie-de-la-Mer, where she has escaped with her small child, Fleur. Soeur Auguste¿s dangerous past catches up with her, in the form of Guy LaMerle, who betrayed her before and reappears as imposter priest/confessor for the abbey, along with the abbey¿s new mother superior, a strident, underaged tyrant. The fake priest and the rule-bound abbess impose a prisonlike reign over the nuns, alienating friends, restricting communication, imposing new and cruel duties, and worst of all kidnapping Fleur. As if that weren¿t enough, LeMerle seems to be up to something evil, something self-serving, something that will affect the entire abbey. Only Juliette knows that he is an imposter, but LeMerle¿s hold over her assures her silence, and like the acrobat she once was, she continues to walk a tightrope to keep herself, her daughter, and her sisters safe. Holy Fools is fresh and intriguing, every bit the page-turner that Chocolat was, yet every bit a stand-alone winner of a book. With its visual scenes in the French countryside, the convent, and on the high wire, this would make a fabulous movie, full of color and action. This suspenseful tale transports the reader to a mysterious time and place,
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
this author has some of the most boring book covers so i'm glad bn asked about book covers in their review form. my wife likes this author so i've been obliged to keep buying all of the books & this was on clearance sale
Vovo More than 1 year ago
First of all, let me say that I only read Holy Fools out of admiration for its authoress. The story scared me, annoyed me, intrigued me, and fascinated me. The characters bothered me, confused me, and intrigued me. In the end, I pitied Juliette, hated the other nuns, and positively fell in love with Guy LeMerle! This review may seem contradictory, but I will leave you to decide whether or not you want to read this book. If there is one thing that I can promise you, though, Holy Fools is a wicked tale that you are never going to forget!
SheilaDeeth More than 1 year ago
I loved the movie "Chocolat," based on a book by Joanne Harris. So when I found a deal on "Holy Fools" I jumped at the chance to get to know her work. I'd have to say, this book was an excellent place for me to start. After all, it is set in a convent, and I did grow up Catholic. Of course, this is no modern convent with girls' high school attached, but rather a beautifully isolated place in seventeenth century France. The fact that I've taken vacations in the area only added to the attraction, and Harris's descriptions, combined with the old forms of names of towns, brought to life many memories and dreams. The characters here are no modern nuns either, but a delightful community of misfits seeking solace in a simple life set apart from the world. But their ordered existence is threatened by a figure from Juliette's past, and Juliette herself cannot expose the deceit without risking losing all she loves. The weather, the sea, statues and beliefs, rules and cruelties all combine to make this a fascinating tale. The worlds of Juliette's past and present, of court and coast, complexity and simplicity, even of faith and science, all come to glorious life. Loyalties are tested and stretched to the limit. Forgiveness and fondness fight for dominance. And the dangers faced by an all too human angel have the heart pounding as you read. I enjoyed the way the author lets us into her characters' heads, using first-person viewpoints of two very different protagonists, without confusion and without any lessening of the tension created by their secrets. A truly masterful tale; I really loved it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I bought this as a bargain book and I am so glad I did. It was not at all what I expected, it was better.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
Actually, it's three stars and half for this book. The last third of this, otherwise, intriguing and engrossing novel was a decline in the plot. And the epilogue was simply disappointing. But, all in all, it's a well-crafted novel set in 17th century Europe with rich, colorful characters. I couldn't put it down but also felt a bit cheated at the end.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I love to read the books written by JoAnn Harris. Blackberry Wine was the first book that I read by Harris, and I thought it was a great read, yet I was struggling from the start reading Holy Fools. I had to force myself through the first third of the book, and I never got to a place that I believed and accepted the small element of fantasy that is always unspoken in her books. I was disappointed, but I would never write off a new book offering by Harris.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The year is 1610. For years, the rules at the Abbey of Sainte Marie-de-la-Mer have been a bit lax; the place is in happy disorder but the nuns are content. All that changes with the arrival of Pere Colombin, and his charge, the new 12-year-old abbesse from a powerful and corrupt family. Unknown to all the nuns but one, Pere Columbin is really Guy LeMerle, a dubious character of possibly noble lineage who has his own deadly agenda for the abbey. The enigmatic LeMerle is a con man, swindler, and thief, whose veneer of charm is sufficient to convince others of his sincerity - in other words, someone who might be at home in a modern corporate boardroom. He has a 'history' with one of the nuns, Sister Auguste, his former protogee and lover from the past. From this point, things in the convent take a dark turn, with increasing chaos marked by intrigue, illicit love, accusations of witchcraft, and 'possession'. The narrative builds in almost unbearable suspense to a nail-biting finale. And underlying it all is the story of a complex and powerful love.