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Blackberry Wine

3.79  ·  Rating details ·  12,399 ratings  ·  790 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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3.79  · 
Rating details
 ·  12,399 ratings  ·  790 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 The Bibliomaniac
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
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
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 t
Aug 13, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: contemporary, fantasy
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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.
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.
I don`t get the alleged magic of this book. Boring... So I`m out, having read about 130 pages. ...more
May 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, fiction
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
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.
Isabella May
Jul 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Stunning. Magical and compelling. A book I didn't want to end!
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.
Mar 19, 2013 rated it really liked it
Fair warning: I’m on a bit of a Joanne Harris binge these days. ”Blackberry Wine” is the story of a writer, widely acclaimed for an insightful novel written fourteen years earlier and financially solvent from lesser sci-fi writing, who is now stuck on so many levels.
The novel alternates between Jay McIntosh’s memories of three summers over twenty years before and the present. Adolescent, lonely, left adrift by his parents’ egocentricity and divorce, Jay finds solace from an eccentric, mysteriou
Jill Furedy
Unlike Chocolat, these characters couldn't hold their own, which is funny since the book is set near Lansquenet and the charcters from Chocolat hover in the sidelines throughout the story. Josephine and Caro and Georges Clairmont are the main people who interact with Jay, though Roux darts through various scenes as well. But Roux was never as charismatic in the book as he was in the movie, so I didn't mind his non-impact here..though it just seemed like odd name dropping by the author to continu ...more
Aug 03, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, fiction
Blackberry Wine followed Harris's Chocolat, but well preceeded the movie of Chocolat that brought so many readers to her books. The timing of the writing of these books is relevent, because Blackberry Wine takes place in the same world as Chocolat, with a few characters making cameo appearences. Then came The Lollypop Shoes (or The Girl with No Shadow), a true sequel to Chocolat, and the casting and plot changes from the film are stamped all over the story. But Blackberry Wine continues with the ...more
Nov 10, 2011 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: romance readers who like a twist
This was a reading group pick and I voted for it because I liked the movie "Chocolat" so wanted to read some books by this author. Blackberry Wine is pretty good; a romance made better because she addressed creativity, community, financial greed and a few other issues.

Jay Mackintosh is a blocked novelist, living in London with one of those business-like, smart, pushy young women who seem to run the world these days. He wrote one good novel but now can only write trash. Luckily the trash brings h
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 25, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Although I have had the majority of Joanne Harris's previous novels on my bookshelves for a number of years, so far I have only read Chocolat, Coastliners and Gentleman and Players. Now having just finished Blackberry Wine I intend to rectify this and catch up by reading the rest as soon as possible. So far she has proved to be for me a riveting storyteller, somehow making the locations and characters leap from the page. Her descriptions of food and wine so good that you feel you can smell and t ...more
Aug 18, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2014
It is the first book I've read by this author and I can't say I'm impressed. The characters are terribly stereotyped (the writer who needs to go back to nature to reach fulfilment, his selfish and ambitious girlfriend, the mysterious down-to-earth woman, the evil mother-in-law) and so superficially described it feels almost like a parody. The clever gypsies, the quaint French never ends. Especially the "spiritual" new-age guidance of Joe is hard to take seriously after he starts sho ...more
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Read by Theme: Blackberry Wine by Joanne Harris 1 15 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
“You don't write because someone sets assignments! You write because you need to write, or because you hope someone will listen or because writing will mend something broken inside you or bring something back to life.” 79 likes
“Some things can be both real and imaginary at the same time, . . . some lies can be true, . . . broken faith may be restored.” 41 likes
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