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"Coastliners" by Joanne Harris

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One might assume all of Ms. Harris's fiction deals with French women and rich men (see "Chocolat"). One would by the same token assume all her fiction deals with an open and truthful heart about life's important issues: family, love, life, death, greed, hauteur. "Coastliners" tells the story of Madeliene - "Mado" - and her mute father on an island off the Vendee coast of France. We have a land grab, a con game, partisanship, religion, and superstition, and life lived stubbornly on an island which can barely support it. Through all of it - the greed and cynicism, the baggage of family life, the changing coastline - life muddles on, and our heroine learns a little of what it takes.

This is a reasonably good story, and if you're interested in France, or this corner of it, you could do worse.
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