Study Guide

Margaret Bonnier in The Hundred-Foot Journey

By Richard C. Morais

Margaret Bonnier

The sweet-as-sugar sous chef of Le Saule Pleureur is Hassan's biggest love interest in the story. If we could personify her presence in the story, it'd be a calm and peaceful bright light: constantly shining beautifully, but not brightly enough to be the center of attention. She works her way slowly into the story and stays. Sound familiar? She's a bit like Hassan's mother (so be sure to read up on her elsewhere in this section).

We first see Margaret as Hassan does, sitting outside with Madame Mallory peeling vegetables. So romantic, right? She's described as "a few years older" looking than Hassan, and she has "a no-nonsense bob of blond hair" and "dark eyes set in pale skin, like pearls inside oyster-sized cheeks" (6.21). Pro tip: Being compared to pearls is usually an indication that somebody likes you. Which is totally the case when Hassan first sees Margaret. It isn't just crush-at-first-sight, though, it's also a sort of life-changing moment for our main man. Check it out:

But then, suddenly, a gust of wind came rushing down the mountain, and in one fell swoop these old memories of Mummy and Mother India were swept away, and in their stead stood an entirely new sensation, tremulous at first, but then growing in intensity with each passing step. What came to me in that wind, so long ago, was an intense yearning triggered by the sight and smells of French food intermingled with the musty aroma of women. Perhaps it was something seeded in childhood, but at that moment it crossed over into something else, something more grown up. (6.26)

Coincidence? We think not. There's nothing like a pretty lady to inspires Hassan to leave his past behind once and for all.

The One That God Away

Hassan starts dating Margaret when he moves into Mallory's house and starts working in the kitchen, though they can't really spend any time together other than rushed hot and heavy moments in between long shifts. She tells him how she feels about this after a while—it makes her sad, like he doesn't want to get to know her. Hassan tells us "she was like Mother. Didn't say a lot, but when she did, my heavens, it would hit you harder than any of Papa's tirades" (12.137). Pro tip: People you kiss sometimes kind of like it when you talk them, too, on occasion.

Their romance doesn't last, though, and Margaret and Hassan break up when he moves to Paris. He wants to make it work, since he says that she's the first woman that he didn't want to run away from, but she's set on staying in the Alps where she was raised.

The One That Comes Back

Margaret comes back into Hassan's life in Chapter 17, when he is successfully running Le Chien Méchant. She is older, divorced with two children, and kind of broken by life. But she's just as lovely as ever. Hassan is able to hook her up with a great job in Paris and they rekindle a friendship.

The end of the novel doesn't say much about their relationship. But let's use our intuition here: She's in the last scene of the book with Hassan and his sister, and she's the one who places the newspaper clip on his desk that he reads in the last paragraph. Since she's sharing this special moment with siblings, we're thinking that we're supposed to believe that they finally get their happily-ever-after.