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Blackberry Wine

3.81  ·  Rating details ·  13,745 ratings  ·  897 reviews
Jay Mackintosh is trapped by memory in the old familiar landscape of his childhood, more enticing than the present, and to which he longs to return. A bottle of home-brewed wine left to him by a long vanished friend seems to provide both the key to an old mystery and a doorway into another world. As the unusual properties of the strange brew takes effect, Jay escapes to a ...more
Paperback, 368 pages
Published December 23rd 2003 by William Morrow Paperbacks (first published September 28th 1999)
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Average rating 3.81  · 
Rating details
 ·  13,745 ratings  ·  897 reviews

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Jan 07, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This lovely story about Jay & Jackapple Joe is one of my all time favourite books. I could read it over & over again.
A story filled with nostalgia, a yearning for wonderful childhood memories, magic and trust. Jay goes on a journey of faith and self discovery, learning how to trust in himself and others, believe in magic and that anything is possible as he once did as a child. With a little help from Joe and his 'specials'.
A wonderful heart warming tale that is a pleasure to read.
BAM Endlessly Booked
Feb 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, own
2018 Reading Challenge: fruit or vegetable in the title

I’m a huge Harris fan, but somehow this is the first of her novels I’ve read with a main male protagonist. I don’t typically gravitate to these types of books.

RTC but I loved this as much as any of her other books. She’s a beautiful storyteller
Mar 21, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2011
My first novel by the author of Chocolat and I have to say I enjoyed it far more than expected.

The story of Jay Mackintosh, a 37 years old writer, famous because of an only novel written fifteen years ago. Jay seems to have lost inspiration and faith in the magic of life, as if all these feelings had been spent in that successful novel.
The novel moves forward and backwards in time, and the reader is able to know young Jay, when he meets Joe, an eccentric old man who leaves a deep impression in l
I loved this story, or maybe I should say, I was in love with this story, I was in love with Joe and his eccentric ways. I loved the gardening, the wine making, the magic. I was in love with the bond of love between old man Joe and young man Jay. This is a book about the young man growing into maturity, into a man who can love a woman and a child and protect what he values. Growing into a man who can accept the weaknesses and mistakes of others, accept those same things in himself, and figure o ...more
Blackberry Wine (1999) & Five Quarters of the Orange (2001) by Joanne Harris
Finished Reading: August 2015
Rating: 2/5 & 3/5

I read Harris' Five Quarters of the Orange & Blackberry Wine back to back, so I shall be reviewing them together. They are very similar, actually; a little too much. Both feature lead female protagonists that have strong, proud, independent, walled-away personalities, unwilling to accept, let alone ask, others for any sort of assistance. In both, they are not the lead char
Dec 22, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Nothing evokes memories like scents and Joanne Harris is a 'master' of descriptive prose that will bring memories flooding back.The senses are further brought into play with the sounds of the 70s nailed and remembered. The best times of my life childhood memories were exactly depicted in this wonderful story narrated by a bottle of 'fleurie' wine and the 6 'specials' which are filled with magic. Lansquenet the little french village of Chocolat fame is the setting for this book too along with som ...more
Chris Eastvedt
Mar 21, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fantasy
I prefer tea….

I have mixed feelings about Blackberry Wine, unfortunately more negative than positive. For the first ten chapters I despised this book: I didn’t care about the characters, couldn’t care about the plot and wanted nothing more than to just get through the thing so I could move on to another story. Even though the chapters are short, fifty-seven pages is more than I want to wait for a story to get interesting.

Blackberry Wine describes the life of Jay, a one-hit-wonder in the literary
Aug 13, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, contemporary
The first time I tried to read Blackberry Wine apparently wasn't the right time to try to read this book. This time, though, I read it practically all in one go -- with, yeah, a glass of wine. Joanne Harris' prose is always easy to read, really clear, and I can believe in the characters she creates at least enough to carry on to the very last page. Joe, in particular, rang true with me: a miner's son, a gardener, a Yorkshire lad... Jay, perhaps not as much, particularly not at the beginning, but ...more
Ellen Black
Oct 10, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This is a beautiful book, written by the author who later wrote Chocolat. Blackberry Wine takes place in both England and the same small French town that is the setting for Chocolat.

Blackberry Wine tells the story of Jay, who as a boy, meets an eccentric man named Joe, who opens Jay's world to gardening and magic and homemade wine. As an adult and established author, Jay escapes his stifling life in England by buying a small cottage in Lansquenet, France, where he not only becomes a gardener, bu
Jan 31, 2020 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This book is set in the same village as the author's most famous work Chocolat but it didn't have any of the charm for me. There's only a few characters in this book, but I didn't like any of them. The story didn't feel like it was going anywhere either. Not for me, but I still love the author and will read more from her. ...more
May 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Of all the books written by Harris, this is my favorite by far. It is a delightful tale of young Jay MacIntosh and the friendship he develops with Joe Cox over the course of 3 summers spent at a small village in England. Joe's past is never made clear; his tales become truth and his truths become tales. The one certainty is that Joe, in his ramshackle cabin knows all there is to know about gardening, herbs and their "magical" healing and protective powers, and wine-making. Althouogh the quality ...more
Sonia Gomes
Dec 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
Just another story, what is remarkable however, is the start of the story; it truly is innovative and simply amazing.
The wine bottles have these marvellous conversations with each other, they laugh, they giggle, they are oh so snooty, the disdain they have for some lesser wines would make you cringe.
Throughout the novel you have these quirky passages that place the otherwise banal story on a simply different level.
Apr 22, 2008 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this. I liked the setting (England and France) and the magical quality of the story. I liked the old character, Joe and in my mind saw one of our library patrons playing his part. It made me want to read more of Harris's books. I like the way she conveys that there is more going on in our lives than meets the eye.

From Publishers Weekly
Like her well-received 1999 novel, Chocolat, Harris's latest outing unfolds around the arrival of an outsider in a tiny French town. This time win
Apr 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I have just finished this and I’m feeling warm and smiley.
Might sound odd, but this book , and most other books by Joanne Harris, make you feel that way.
A little magic for adults, but oh so believable and well told.
During these dark, weird times we live in right now, this was the perfect book for me. Transported to Yorkshire childhood long summers, and a dusty old farm in France, with its grounds and gardens. Likeable characters, decent story line. Sad to finish it really, would have liked to st
When I compare this offering from Joanne Harris to her other books, it is just a meh response. I was disappointed.

It flipped back and forth between 1975 and 1999 too rapidly. I couldn't really get into either period. The ending was abrupt, like the author herself was tired of the whole thing.

I did like some of the characters - Joe & Rosa. It was nice to be in the company of Josephine and Roux again. And there was lots of wine and food to be enjoyed.

Another story with special elements by this author.
It's been a while since I've read one of her books...I can't say if it's this book in particular or if too long has gone since I was enamored by the author's writing and/or voice but I just didn't seem to connect as well with this one.

I liked it how it ended but between the lack of connection with the characters and the continuous jumping from one time to the other (action takes place in two moments, the main character's childhood summers and t
Apr 14, 2020 rated it really liked it
What a charming fairy tale for grown-ups! It comes complete with elements of fantasies... a house in the French countryside...potions and healers with the power to everlasting even if often is not entirely convincing. There were only a couple of things that were slightly annoying but not overwhelming. The narrator was a bottle of don't have to go back and reread was indeed a bottle of blackberry wine...and the end of the book is a little unbelievable. The re ...more
Sep 05, 2013 rated it really liked it
I read this book as a recommendation from my monthly book club. As someone who might be described as enjoying a glass of wine (perhaps two..), I was looking forward to reading it. I thoroughly enjoyed it. I loved the characters, the tiny town in France, the bottles of wine that "spoke" (I could relate to that), to Jay and to the belief that all good things can come from a little magic. Because I so enjoyed the movie Chocolat (I had not read the book), I went into this book thinking that it would ...more
Jun 01, 2016 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: People with high tolerance for magical realism and slow moving narrative
Joanne Harris paints a picture of intense summers of childhood alternating with farming life in a small French village, interwoven with threads of magic. Unfortunately the regret and ennui of the main character permeate the majority of the book, which made my experience as a reader ho hum.

It all came together with a satisfying ending. However, on reflection, the one-sided negative portrayal of several women characters in the book leaves a bit of an unpleasant aftertaste.
Jun 05, 2007 rated it it was ok
After enjoying Chocolat so much, I couldn't wait to read another book by this author, but I remember being very disappointed in this book. Not quite in the same league as Chocolat or even Five Quarters of an Orange. ...more
Nino Meladze
Jul 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book ! So many unpredictable spins in the story that keep you interested to fin out more and more. But mostly, I liked the sense of magic that was in the book ; that essential sense that gives us hope and courage to do new things.
I don`t get the alleged magic of this book. Boring... So I`m out, having read about 130 pages. ...more
Feb 24, 2020 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: magical-realism
It had to happen, my bookish love affair with Joanne Harris came to a grinding halt with this book, despite it being set in Lansquenet-sous-Tannes where 'Chocolat' was set. Any magical realism written by anyone other than Haruki Murakami I struggle to appreciate, and this split narrative (the other narrative is set 20 years earlier in Yorkshire) read, from the point of view of a bottle of Blackberry wine was lost on me. Interestingly I later found out that the American versions have a convention ...more
May 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, favorites
What a wonderful read this is. Thoroughly enjoyed both the plot and the narration of 'Blackberry Wine'. A punch of intoxicating senses which vapouriser's the encantation of the past at every page turn, from page one to the last page. One can almost taste the wine bubbling and working it's magic on the reader too. Super.
'I've had me fill now and bah gum.It tasted ta' right. Hope thee enjoy thy'sen with'dabook, twa's a bloody good read!'.
Laura B.
May 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
Writer's block has building blocks
and built these walls around me
I don't feel lucky in here
buried in my head
I'm seeing red and nothing else

- mad all the time by waterparks

I could't get these lyrics out my head the entire time whilst reading this book
Jan 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I liked it a great deal. Unusual premise, a wine bottle being the narrator, but its appearance in the story telling was minimal, the characters carrying the plot. Harris has a great imagination that includes aspects of the paranormal or psychological?
Jane Campbell
Nov 19, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Meh. Disappointing. I found the story predictable, the characters underdeveloped, and the theme a familiar one. I hear happy to finish the book and get on to a new book.
Linda Spyhalski
Sep 17, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: books-read-2020
Great book!
Isabella May
Jul 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Stunning. Magical and compelling. A book I didn't want to end! ...more
Lynne Agnew
Mar 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely magical, in every way. A tale of every day magic.... the bottles of Joe's special red wine, the mid life crisis of Jay, a one book author with writers block. I love the way it weaves between now and the past. But I particularly love old Joe, his everyday magic and humour. I read this book once a year with a glass or two of red wine and enjoy every second. ...more
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Read by Theme: Blackberry Wine by Joanne Harris 1 16 Jan 05, 2013 08:25PM  

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Joanne Harris is an Anglo-French author, whose books include fourteen novels, two cookbooks and many short stories. Her work is extremely diverse, covering aspects of magic realism, suspense, historical fiction, mythology and fantasy. She has also written a DR WHO novella for the BBC, has scripted guest episodes for the game ZOMBIES, RUN!, and is currently engaged in a number of musical theatre pr ...more

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