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The Vintner's Luck (Vintner's Luck #1)

3.9  ·  Rating Details ·  2,278 Ratings  ·  299 Reviews
One summer night in 1808, Sobran Jodeau sets out to drown his love sorrows in his family's vineyard when he stumbles on an angel. Once he gets over his shock, Sobran decides that Xas, the male angel, is his guardian sent to counsel him on everything from marriage to wine production. But Xas turns out to be a far more mysterious character. Compelling and erotic, The Vintner ...more
Paperback, 284 pages
Published August 5th 2000 by Picador (first published 1998)
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(showing 1-30)
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mark monday
Aug 08, 2016 mark monday rated it really liked it
he is neither soldier in the armies of the Lord nor adherent to the Day Star, son of the morning. he is his own creature, bound to earth.

oh sweet angel, caught between ice and fire; oh sweet prose, liquid and lapidary; oh sweet story, sinuous and subtle, that says so little yet feels so much.

a soulful and nourishing novel.
Tiffany Reisz
Feb 06, 2014 Tiffany Reisz rated it it was amazing
It's a rare book that makes it hard for me to pick up and enjoy another book the next day. The Vintner's Lucky has stayed with me, buzzing in my brain, tugging at my guts, for a week now. I can't review the book. The angel Xas has stolen my heart. I don't even know how to talk about it. All I can say is that it's the most honest and beautifully written love story I've ever read between a mortal and an immortal.

Please read it.
Dec 16, 2010 Robin rated it it was amazing
If a man falls in love with a male angel one summer night on a hilltop in a French vineyard in 1808, if for years he sees this angel only once a year on this same hilltop, if the angel seems both intimate and impersonal at once, how will this affect the man’s ability to live his life as his family has lived for generations—raising children with his wife, making wine, interacting with the local nobility? What connection, if any, is there between the angel’s annual appearance and the success of ea ...more
the scarecrow
Sep 13, 2013 the scarecrow rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I don't know how many of you realise this, but from the age of 11 or so, I grew up in New Zealand. Our English curriculum makes it compulsory for us to do a reading log for every English class, covering a variety of books. In order to support our local heritage the log needs to include at least one book by a local NZ author each year. Shouldn't be too hard, right? We produced Joy Cowley, Maurice Gee, Katherine Mansfield, Phillip Mann and Witi Ihimaera. Shouldn't be too hard at all.

Except for one
Aug 10, 2009 Nikki rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, lgbt, angels
My flatmate recommended this to me with much high praise. And read my copy before I got my hands on it, and cried at it a lot. I have to confess, when I started reading it, I didn't really get into it. The story is about a man who agrees to meet an angel (or an angel who agrees to meet a man?) at the same time every year, for one night every year. The story focuses on these meetings, so what we get are glimpses into a life. It isn't just the meetings, but it focuses mostly on them, rather than t ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
I finished this book this morning, and I cried. This book is heartbreaking, but in the most beautiful, profound way possible.

At its simplest it's a book about a vinemaker, Sobran, and his relationship with an angel, Xas, he was fortunate enough to stumble upon one night, while looking for relief from heartbreak. A relationship that ends up defining both their lives, and hugely impacts the life of everyone else around them.

And this is why it is in no way a simple book, and never will be. It is a
Apr 24, 2016 V rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed, fiction
I have but one word to describe this book: gorgeous.

Okay, okay, that's a fairly bold statement to make. But, The Vintner's Luck being as criminally unknown as it is, only readily available in its nation of origin (New Zealand), I feel I have to make a case for its beauty and sheer energy that kept me turning the pages.

Well, maybe not turning the pages as quickly as I could. I would read ten to twenty pages at a time and need some time to gather my feelings and think carefully upon what I had jus
Chris Horsefield
Oct 11, 2016 Chris Horsefield rated it liked it
The way each book deals with issues of structure, chronology, plotting, characterisation, and, of course, theology, are radically different to what I expected.
THE VINTNER'S LUCK should stand (and fall) on its own merits. But if comparisons must be drawn, one might look at how Neil Gaiman characterizes religious mythology in his fiction. Heaven and Hell are made real, as are Lucifer, God, and a host of angels, all given motivations and decisions to make.
This would all work out pretty well, but Kn
tl;dr SUMMARY VERSION: In The Vintner’s Luck, Book, I recommend an awesome concept, some interesting if distant characters, ~tragic gay angel love~, some thought-provoking religious mythology, some effective poetic language (infinite descriptions of wing movements, dead leaves, the Napoleonic Wars), a fast read, refreshing anti-agism (old people having sex! THE SCANDAL).
I caution against somewhat distant, unlikeable characters (and a massive cast), somewhat anticlimactic gay angel sex, some Twi
Carol ♔Type, Oh Queen!♕

The first time I read this I was totally engaged, this time not so much. I think the period when (view spoiler) was when both I & this book lost focus.

The prose is still so beautiful & lyrical to read though and at the start I soared with the story & found the book very hard to put down. & I loved the chapter headings- all connected with winemaking and all relevant to the chapter.

Not perfect but still most highly recommended.

Edit; So
Mar 02, 2014 julio rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to julio by: the scarecrow

...but heartbreaking in its loveliness.

this book was ordered in june—and arrived in november, for some reason.

lucky me. i thought it was beautiful.

thanks for the gift, scarecrow!
Isa Lavinia

He swooned while still walking forward, and the angel stood quickly to catch him.
Sobran fell against a warm, firm pillow of muscle. He lay braced by a wing, pure sinew and bone under a cushion of feathers.

This is Sobran and Xas' first meeting.

Sobran, the son of a vintner in the early 19th century, is drowning his sorrows in wine - Celeste, the girl he loves, he forbidden to him, there is madness tainting her family's blood, so his father has not given his blessing to the match.

It's between
Alexis Hall
Read with her Lord High Katness.

I, err, I thought I'd read this. But I turned out to have read an entirely different book about angels.

I'll try to write a proper review at some point but for now: this was beautiful. Harrowing, complicated, terrible. Ultimately deeply human.

I might have cried.

A lot.
Jun 19, 2015 Marcie rated it liked it
Shelves: recs-by-friends
This book- I'm not sure what to rate it.I liked it somewhat. The unorthodox love story between a man and a angel sounded like it would make for a great story. But honestly? I found it to be a slow and dragging read. It didn't catch my attention until I reached 30% and then again towards the 50'ish % mark. Being that the story took place during the 1800's I think that had some to do with it. Not the historical aspect of it, but in the way it was written. So I think this is one of those moments wh ...more
Jun 26, 2016 Mel rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Mel by: Alexis Hall
Shelves: favourites-2016
Could we only this once make an exception? Only once? I tell you to read this book and you just do it?

Because the book left me rather speechless, you see? So please, don’t expect this review to be very eloquent. I fear it might be a little unsubstantial.

I wish I could talk about The Vintner’s Luck with wisdom and insights because I feel like this is what it deserves, but, annoyingly, I find myself lacking. So I’ll be focusing on feelz instead…

The Vintner’s Luck is beautiful and sad. It’s holding
Kat is a Glitter Pirate ☠

~Buddy read with bert as an act of rebellion against Christmas and Christmas books.~

I finished this in early hours of Monday morning and I'm still dazed by what I read. Because this book caused my heart to swell to twice it's size, broke it a little, kindly put it back together again, broke it some more, made me cry, and made me fall in love with an angel.

I just adored it.
“You fainted and I caught you. It was the first time I'd supported a human. You had such heavy bones. I put myself between
4.5 I AM WRECKED!!! I went through the gauntlet with this book, up & down so many times. My half star deduction was personal due to my inability to relate a bit with the depth of the religion discussion. I am still contemplating weather to read on into the next or leave it here, as I kinda like where it left.
Feb 16, 2009 Carrie rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 03, 2008 Res rated it liked it
Recommended to Res by: schemingreader
Shelves: sff, slash-interest
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Judy Croome
This is a difficult novel to review. ‘Strange’ is the word that springs to mind. The premise – a lifelong friendship between an angel and a vintner – interested me, because I like surreal and/or paranormal stories. When I started reading, I couldn’t put it down because the imagery was beautiful and the philosophical discussions on religious beliefs interesting although, at times, too obscure. So, what was the problem I had with this story? I couldn’t get emotionally attached to any of the charac ...more
Ann M
Sep 25, 2008 Ann M rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: readers of fantasy
Spoilers, I guess: This is a very silly book about an angel who meets a completely uninteresting French vintner in the early nineteenth century and they fall in love. I never understand anyone's relationships, but this took the cake. Also, there are a lot of characters who are not more than names -- the author tries to hang a story on this silly premise by fleshing things out with the vintner's ever-increasing family, but, who cares? There aren't enough details to make it a historical fiction. I ...more
Apr 29, 2015 Absinthe rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2015
There will never be words to adequately describe this masterpiece. In these pages, Knox explores humanity, the idea of originality, of the influence of the divine. And of course she writes of love, loving because of, not in spite of. In my opinion, this is a very original piece, a novel idea. Hundreds if not thousands have toyed with the influence of angels on humans, though few have dipped their toes into the influence humans have on angels.
In the early part of the 19th century, a young winemaker sees an angel out in the field behind his house. They talk for a while; eventually they agree to meet every year on the same night. I loved this premise; it reminded me of one of my favorite stories ever, Neil Gaiman’s “Men of Good Fortune.” The difference is that “Good Fortune” is about someone who will live forever, while Luck takes place over a single human lifetime. Also, in Luck, our human protagonist, Sobran, and his otherworldly vi ...more
Mar 12, 2016 Kathy rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorite-books
A real review is impossible right now. I stayed up way too late (early?) to finish this because stopping was NOT an option, and now there are too many thoughts, too many emotions tumbling around. My nose is red, my eyes are swollen to mere slits from crying, and I still can't seem to swallow this lump in my throat. I need tea, comfort, laughter, and sleep, in no particular order. Well, maybe sleep first.

So there's absolutely no way I have inside me what's needed to do justice to this book.
Jun 10, 2016 Cassian rated it it was amazing
Shelves: lgbt
This is one of the best books I've read in a very long time. I originally picked it up (from, as apparently it's out of print now) when I heard that there was a film adaptation in production. I hope that I enjoy the movie as much as I enjoyed the book!

Knox's characters are rich, believable and human - especially her angels - and the story an especially moving romance that delves deep in its exploration of death, obsession, and family. She offers at the same time an alternate take on ang
Jan 25, 2013 Nikki rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, romance, lgbt, angels
I really wanted to reread this before reading the sequel; I wasn't sure if it'd be as good as I remembered, though. Actually, I don't think a reread did it much good, but I'm sure it'll benefit me when I read the sequel -- I think I shielded myself from the emotional blows, this time, and skimmed over the surface. It was still a beautiful read, though reading it this way made me so much more curious about the background plot that's barely touched on -- Lucifer, and God, and Xas' resemblance to a ...more
Jul 03, 2007 Natalie rated it it was amazing
Deliciously metaphysical, this book charts the lifelong friendship between a man and an angel. Since one owns a vineyard and the other struggles with understanding desire, the book meditates about taste, time, and the role of the body in understanding the self. It's quirky, moving, beautiful -- one of those books I've given away several times...
Pam/Peejakers (PJ Faste)
Good grief. This was beautiful & devastating.

Set against a backdrop of history that includes the Napoleonic wars and Burgundian wine country life in 19th century France, this is a story about life and death, love and loss, heaven and hell, faith and betrayal. There's a murder mystery. There's madness. There’s desire. There is more than one love story. There are miracles. There is jealousy, sickness, war, cowardice and courage, wisdom and stupidity. It is a story that blends the richly earth
Oct 25, 2012 Athens rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: all
Recommended to Athens by: the movie Heavenly Vintage
Rarely has a book absorbed me so much, making me go back to it many times, because I didn't want to miss anything.

Elizabeth Knox wrote it with an elegant, lyrical language, unique for transmitting to us the emotions of her characters-it's as if she actually "lived" the story. And yet, she doesn't exhaust those emotions with too much dialogue, leaving me to ponder on sentences over and over.

The Vintner's Luck is a book about a passionate life-long love story between Xas, a forever-young angel "as
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Theological elements 2 25 May 08, 2011 02:29PM  
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Elizabeth Knox was born in Wellington‚ New Zealand‚ and is the author of eleven novels and three novella and a book of essays.

More about Elizabeth Knox...

Other Books in the Series

Vintner's Luck (2 books)
  • The Angel's Cut (Vintner's Luck, #2)

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“You fainted and I caught you. It was the first time I'd supported a human. You had such heavy bones. I put myself between you and gravity. Impossible.” 54 likes
“Imagine a very long time passing - and I find my way out, following someone who already knows how to leave Hell. And God says to me on Earth for the first time, "Xas!" in a tone of discovery, as if I'm a misplaced pair of spectacles or a stray dog. And he puts it to me that he wants me in Heaven. But Lucifer has doubled back - it was him I followed - to find me, where I am, in a forest, smitten, because the Lord has noticed me, and I'm overcome, as hopeless as your dog Josie whom you got rid of because she loved me.' Xas glared at Sobran. Then he drew a breath - all had been said on only three. He went on: 'Lucifer says to God the He can't have me. And at this I sit up and tell Lucifer that I didn't even think he knew my name, then say to God no thank you - very insolent this - and that Hell is endurable so long as the books keep appearing.” 11 likes
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