Friday, November 28, 2014

The Vintner's Daughter by Kristen Harnisch

Kristen Harnisch’s The Vintner’s Daughter is just what wine-loving Francophiles will hope is under their tree this season. The Vintner’s Daughter is set near Vouvray in France’s Loire Valley in 1895, then it moves with Sara, the vintner’s daughter, to America.

Sara Thibault is seventeen when the book opens and she wants to become a master winemaker like her father.  She has plans for their Loire Valley family vineyard but after her father’s sudden death in a mudslide, her mother sells their land to a rival whose son, Bastien, marries Sara’s sister.  Sara soon sees that her brother-in-law’s plans are more for evil than for winemaking.  When he dies violently, Sara and her sister flee to New York to escape accusations. Later in California, Sara meets Philippe, Bastien’s brother, who is searching for the person responsible for his brother’s death. Sara wants to avoid Philippe but he’s a committed winemaker and is building the largest vineyard in the Napa region and unlike others, he’s willing to hire Sara for her expertise. Will Sara fall in love with Philippe?  Will Philippe learn of her background? Will she be able to regain her family’s vineyard in France? 

Sara’s courage and fortitude will win over readers that love reading about strong women overcoming betrayals and setbacks.  Harnisch combines meticulous research about the history of the wine industry with a strong love story to create a page-turning novel to be enjoyed with a glass of Vouvray.  I read the print version but to prepare for this giveaway I listened to an audio sample and can attest that Tavia Gilbert’s reading is impeccable.  Her pronunciation of French locales and terms in the portions set in the Loire Valley is flawless and she reads at just the right tempo for the book’s pace. Her reading complements the realistic dialogue and apt descriptions that contribute to the book’s ability to place the reader in the period.

Summing it Up: Read or listen to this charmer if you love wine, France, and historical fiction with a romantic touch and accurate details.  Select this as a gift for Adriana Trigiani fans.  She says it’s: “Lush and evocative, this novel brings the Loire Valley and its glorious vineyards to life in a story that will delight readers everywhere.”   As a bonus, Harnisch plans a sequel with an early 2016 release date.

Rating:  4 stars   
Category: Dessert, Fiction, Historical Fiction, Super Nutrition, Book Club
Publication date: August 5, 2014
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