I read this book twice, about three years apart. When I read it the first time, I enjoyed it but noticed a few quirky points. I then put it on my shelf and left it there for quite a while. I picked it up fresh a few days ago and read through it again. Again, I enjoyed it a lot - but the same points stood out to me again.
The story revolves around Lucie, one of three siblings in a winemaking family in Virginia. You begin with Lucie recovering from an accident, off in France. She gets the sad news that her father has passed away, which draws her back into the complicated family dynamics. Her brother is married to an annoying woman. Her younger sister is now dating her ex-boyfriend who caused the accident. To top it all off, it looks like her father might have been murdered!
Author Ellen Crosby does a fantastic job with just about every aspect of the story. The characters are memorable but also quite realistic. You can imagine the pregnant sister-in-law being just that way, self-absorbed and demanding. The world they inhabit is equally lush. The visuals are beautiful, from the rich scent of the lavender to the aquamarine waters dancing around them.
I really like that the main character - Lucie - is disabled and stands up for herself. She's a real inspiration to disabled people everywhere, and helps show all the problems disabled people run into just navigating the normal ins and outs of life.
Having run a wine site for over ten years, I was also really pleased with the wine details. Ellen does a great job of drawing you into the world of winemaking without making it a chore. There's just the right balance of information and entertainment. She adds in the commonly quoted line about "the way to make a small fortune in a winery is to start with a large one" which I've always loved. Winemaking is a very expensive hobby!
I only have one issue with the book, and it stood out glaringly at me both times I read it. There's a large room in the winery which has windows in it. Apparently the building inspector REQUIRED them to seal those windows shut because apparently anything which lets in both air and light doesn't conform to code?? The code of a building is that windows can't open? This makes NO sense to me and seems like a really inane plot device. If there really is a reason that some code requires all windows to be sealed shut, it would be nice if it was explained more clearly. I've been in many wineries and they all have had windows that open.
So that point aside, I definitely recommend this book. Enjoy!
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Wine Book Reviews