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Saving Grapes

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Thirty-two-year-old Jason Barnes recently lost his job, and his heart. Now, thanks to a meddling ex-wife and a golf cart fiasco, he has just thirty days to pay a $60,000 fine or go to jail.

Jason was hoping his Aunt Clara would come to his rescue, but she unexpectedly dies, gifting her liquid assets to charity. She does, however, will Jason a picturesque French vineyard—and it’s worth millions. But there’s a catch! If Jason goes to jail, the vineyard will transfer to his unscrupulous stepbrother.

To raise the cash he needs, Jason travels to France with his knucklehead of a best friend to sell the vineyard. Cashing in will not be so simple, though. Formidable nuns farm the vineyard, and he needs their blessing to sell. To persuade the good sisters, Jason attempts a madcap series of dubious schemes, and while doing so falls for what he thinks is the perfect French woman. Amidst this melee of wine, women, nuns, and villains, Jason must unearth his true values in order to save more than just his soul.

Infused with J.T. Lundy’s deliciously skewed sense of humor, and full of flawed but irresistible characters, Saving Grapes is a rollicking, good-hearted Wodehousian comedy that speaks to the hapless romantic in all of us.

288 pages, Paperback

First published April 1, 2015

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About the author

J.T. Lundy

3 books36 followers
J.T. Lundy, a 2014 Thurber Prize for American Humor Semi-Finalist, lives in Naperville, Illinois, where he writes novels and screenplays, and attempts to help his wife manage the chaos from raising three growing boys. He likes to read, write, travel, and eat good food. A graduate of Indiana University, he also holds an MFA from Spalding University and an MBA from the University of Chicago.

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5 stars
42 (28%)
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53 (36%)
3 stars
34 (23%)
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14 (9%)
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 62 reviews
Profile Image for Bryan Spellman.
168 reviews1 follower
February 3, 2015
15 of 75 in 2015. Another LibraryThing Early Reviewers selection. I have to admit, that when I picked up the mail and found a new book from the Early Reviewers program, I put aside my "currently reading" selection, and started right in on the new book. For one thing, if LibraryThing is kind enough to give me a foretaste of new works, the least I can do is read them promptly and tell folks what I think. And also, I have to admit that this book took a while to hold my attention. As I read the first few chapters, I felt as if this was going to be a challenge. But all of a sudden, the story (and the characters) grabbed me and wouldn't let go. I hate to say that there are certain TV shows I watch religiously. Not this time. The book was more compelling. The story of a man at loose ends, about to go to jail because, basically, he's a loser, goes to France and finds redemption, a calling, and family. I could appreciate the "home" feeling Jason had on the vineyard in France--a place he's never lived. I had exactly the same feeling in West Virginia where generations of my ancestors (but not myself) have lived. I could relate to him finding solace at his grandparents' tomb. I've stood on my grandparents' tomb in our family cemetery. The story is a bit far-fetched though in the manner Jason is able to get to France, and fight all battles to win his inheritance. That said, there is enough love and passion in the telling, and enough humor to entrance just about any reader. There are also enough chapter ending hooks to draw the reader into the next chapter, and the one after that, until, before you know it, it's 10 pm and you've finished the book you started earlier in the day. That's what I did. Read the whole thing in one day. Now I want more from J.T. Lundy. But this really was an Early Review. The book isn't scheduled for release until May, 2015. My ongoing French teacher quibble. If you're going to put French language in the mouths of native French people, GET THE DAMN LANGUAGE CORRECT. (Minor quibble, as 99.9% of the dialogue in the book is in English.)
Profile Image for Anne.
3 reviews
February 9, 2015
(ARC from LibraryThing)
This is possibly one of the worst books I have ever wasted time reading. J.T. Lundy apparently has only a nodding acquaintance with English grammar, vocabulary, and punctuation, and none at all with the French language. (Speaking of which, can we please make it a rule for publishers that any book with foreign expressions in it HAS to be proofread/edited by someone who is fluent in that language?)
The blurb on the back of the book claims that it is "Wodehousian" in its jollity. I found it tedious and more comparable to a community-theater production of a bad Feydeau farce. Which is not to knock community theater in general -- just bad productions.
Also, what's with all these supposedly French characters with English names [possibly understandable in Paris, but not deep in the Bordelais countryside]? Peter at the hotel, Anthony the waiter, Matthew and Mark the dogs ... nope.
Profile Image for Dianna.
552 reviews
February 5, 2015
I received this from Library Thing giveaway. From win to my mailbox in 6 days so I had to start reading. And then I couldn't put it down. Finished this fast, fun, romantic, slapstick comedy in one day. At first I rolled my eyes. Then all of a sudden I got pulled into this story and each of its characters. Grab this one for your next beach read.
Thank you, Library Thing!
Profile Image for Sherwood Smith.
Author 156 books37.5k followers
May 15, 2015
Copy courtesy NetGalley

Jason Barnes is a high school screw-up in the body of a thirty-two year old man. At the start, he is still pals with his high-school buddy Stumpy, who he still orders around without much respect, newly divorced by a wife who dumped him for a Wall Street success, and working at a golf driving range for his loathed step-brother Eustace.

In a disastrous comedy of errors Jason ends up trashing the golf range, after which Eustace and Jason both yell for Aunt Clara, who in one of those complicated American families raised them both; they agree on a solution, which Eustace promptly reneges on, with the result that Jason is arrested, and given a month to pay back the sixty thousand in damages that Eustace insists it cost. Or else he will do hard time.

Further, Aunt Clara dies abruptly, and because of a complicated will, Jason has only that month to pay back the money or he loses his inheritance, a French vineyard, that Eustace badly covets.

And his passport is taken away.

Jason and Stumpy still manage to find their way to France, where they meet the local nuns, as well as a lively set of characters as Jason sets about trying first to figure out a way to sell the vineyard in order to pay his debt. He slowly finds roots--and love--and even begins to grow up in spite of the fact that he is determined by hook or by crook (mostly the latter, but there are some hooks in his complicated plans) to save the place.

It's a breezy read, not laugh-out-loud funny, but with some vivid and engaging moments. I kept comparing it to a zany romcom, in the wild way the plot unfolds, with disguises and lies and historical artifacts and a lot of sneaking around. In that sense, it reminded me of P.G. Wodehouse. The plot turns on surprises and coincidences, and hand-waves a great many things, such as what life is actually like in a cloister in which nuns still take vows of silence, the French language, and today's realities of airline travel.

These things don't really matter in the long run. The language is not nearly as deft or as clever as Wodehouse at his best, but the read is fun, and someone could easily adapt this into a screenplay, keeping the brisk pacing and the variety of characters.
Profile Image for Elizabeth Ehlen.
229 reviews2 followers
December 29, 2014
From the author of Happy Utopia Day, Joe McCarthy (which I loved) comes an altogether different genre of novel - the romantic comedy Saving Grapes. Because I loved the dystopian sarcasm of Happy Utopia Day, I was a little skeptical of the translation to a romantic comedy. Fortunately, I kept an open mind and was not disappointed. Don’t get me wrong, it was a much fluffier story than the other, but it was still a good, fast read, and managed to connect the Midwest and French wine country, which made me happy.

Saving Grapes starts with Jason’s legal problems complicated by the death of his champion, Aunt Clara. However, she left him a solution - hard work on the family’s vineyard, which he will inherit with proper adherence to the terms in her will. Of course he had to surrender his passport to the court and promise to pay damages, but selling the vineyard will solve all his problems with none of the hard work, right? Probably his BFF and sidekick Stumpy can help him get to Europe unnoticed. Thus ensues a transnational scheme to extricate himself from all his woes, complicated by an ex-wife, ex-stepbrother, and some extra slapsticky schemes aided by the free flowing alcohol inherent in vinting. Will Alan save the winery, solve his legal problems and get the girl?

Saving Grapes brings the humor that author J.T. Lundy is known for as well as the many subplots that somehow compliment each other rather than step on each other. I was a fan of the adoption subplot myself, given my occupation. Many times I thought to myself this would make a great screenplay, although IMO it is actually easier to understand the plot and keep track of it in book form. The slapstick comic stuff would translate well though. Saving Grapes is not set for release until May 5, so ff you are a looking for a light vacation beach read this is your escape!
Profile Image for David Bennett.
6 reviews
February 20, 2015
They say you should never judge a book by it's cover and this book is no exception.
Appearing like a chick flic with five grapes surrounding a heart is a bit of a misnomer, may look like something guys would be totally bored with is actually a story about guys. Written in the first person narrative from the point of view of Jason Barnes, a guy constantly getting knocked down by life just when he starts getting back on his feet finally looses it and creates himself a whole load more trouble for himself. His best bud "Stumpy" who stands up for him all the way and vice versa are actually a couple of "dorks". Think of Simon Peg and Nick Frost.
The romantic comedy genre kicks in when Stumpy falls in love with a nun? and Jason falls in love with a representative from France's Ministry of Energy.
The whole thing about saving grapes is about the problems associated with inheriting a vineyard in France, when you are an American in France with a $60,000 debt to an American court with no passport and the grim prospect of going to prison for a year, loosing everything unless you can pay it back within 30 days and an ass hole sibling who is hell bent on screwing a good person over.
Although the cover appears to appeal to a female audience, any male with a heart will love this book. It made me laugh and cry at the same time (Pathos).
June 6, 2015
After a very expensive golf cart mishap, Jason Barnes finds himself in hot-water and only sixty thousand dollars will get him out of it. To make matters worse, he has only 30 days to come up with it. With his best friend, Stumpy in tow, the men set out to France in hopes of selling the vineyard left to him by his Aunt Clara. The eighty-two problems with his plan all wear habits and spend their days worshiping God.

I received this book from Story Cartel, believing it was a romance, since that’s where it was listed. Unfortunately, by the time I got to chapter 6, the only possible connection was between Stumpy (a secondary character) and the flight attendant, which is in total conflict of the definition of a romance. Speaking of flight attendants, I know that flight attendants can’t be as short as this character was described and the excessive jewelry is most definitely not allowed. Seems a little research was in order here.

Since classified as a romantic comedy, I expected to laugh, or at least be amused at some point, which did not happen with this book. I remember dialogue that left me with the belief that it was meant to be funny, but there was nothing comical about it. Chocolate tire? Winer?

Since it’s as far as I got, my review is only based on the first six chapters. And that alone, should say a lot.
Profile Image for Arlena.
3,141 reviews1 follower
May 22, 2015
Title: Saving Grapes
Author: J. T. Lundy
Publisher: Emerald Book Company
Reviewed By: Arlena Dean
Rating: Four

"Saving Grapes" by L. T. Lundy

What I liked about this novel...

Wow, all I can say it that "Saving Grapes" made me laugh and laugh ...from this vineyard setting [sights, sounds and aromas] along with the nuns and those crazy villains these two main characters[Jason and Stumpy] were simply off the chart so interesting and funny! Oh yes, in a slapstick way did I love this way this author was able to give the reader simply a fun adventurous read with these two attempting to fulfilling the conditions of a will to inherit the vineyard left to Jason[a perennial screw-up] by his Aunt Clara. There will be some twist and turns in this fast story that will keep your attention and guessing all the way to the end. Who knew as Jason sets out for financial gain will he end up getting so much more? So, if you are in for a good laugh I would recommend this comic romantic novel as one enjoyable read.
1 review
February 1, 2015
Saving Grapes by J.T. Lundy was a genuine find that I'm so glad for once and it came from my lovely husband, of all places.
Jason Barnes is what I call a modern Dick Van Dyke. Brutally honest and gets into all sorts of trouble by being and absolute klutz. With his good friend Stumpy, even bigger klutz than him, set out to an adventure that you would never think they would come out of it alive.
This book will make you laugh and feel good in so many ways. its easy to read and would be a perfect find to put in your travel bag for a weekend or vacation read. J.T. Lundy has put great and hilarious characters up front with little tear or two of happiness in this great book. I give it 5/5 on my list.
....and I wouldn't be surprised if they make a Romantic Comedy movie out this....I smell a good script on this one...
Profile Image for Denise.
1,770 reviews24 followers
July 16, 2015
** I received this ARC from Story Cartel in exchange for an honest review**

'Saving Grapes' pulled me in from the beginning and I literally did not put it down. I loved the storyline and how it played out. Full of humor, unfortunate yet funny mishaps, romance, drama and great characters. Jason was one of those characters you love even when his antics have you shaking your head. I loved his humor. Stumpy was such a likable character. A very devoted friend who also happened to be caught in the same antics alongside Jason. All of the characters were a great mix of personalities. Sister Claudette played the perfect no nonsense role. The story had you wanting things to work out and it even threw in some surprises. A great add to your tbr list. Recommended read.
Profile Image for Esther Marie.
260 reviews11 followers
June 18, 2015
This book was dreadful. I have put it down for months in the hopes of picking it up again to finish the twenty or so pages I have remaining, and I just can't do it. Insipid characters, laughable, (not in a good way), plot, and, really, what more is there to say? It seems that the author wrote this book in hopes of a movie deal. Vince Vaughn and Cameron Diaz are the only actors wooden and unlikable enough to truly bring this story to life with accuracy.

This was one of the worst books I have read recently - easily the worst book I've read so far in 2015.

Read something else. Anything else. If you're looking for a light and goofy summer read, there are many, MANY authors who do it better.
Profile Image for Cindy.
1,436 reviews21 followers
February 28, 2015
This book just made me laugh and feel good! Sure, there is a lot of slapstick stuff going on but it worked! The vineyard setting, the nuns, crazy villains, and the two main characters makes for a book I would definitely recommend. What a fun ride! As other reviewers have mentioned Saving Grapes would be a hysterical movie!
Profile Image for Connie N..
2,280 reviews
May 13, 2020
Thanks to NetGalley for a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

I just couldn't like this book. The premise had promise, and I was looking forward to a funny and charming book about a guy who inherits a vineyard in France and runs into problems when trying to take ownership. However, the main character turned out to be seriously annoying, beginning with the crazy reckless crime he commits in the first couple of pages, which is the start of all his legal troubles. Then he proceeds to compound his problems with additional crazy acts, all of which could have been avoided. He illegally goes to France (sponging off his best friend that he treats like scum) to check out the vineyard, planning to either sell it or at least take what he can get from it. I couldn't see any redeeming features about Jason at all. He's always looking out for #1, is disrespectful to the nuns, and usually points the finger at his friend when anything goes wrong. Rather than finding his continual problems amusing, I felt more and more frustration, particularly since all of his problems were self-inflicted. And criminal, in some cases. The guy just had no self-respect at all. And I apparently am not on the same wavelength with this new-to-me author since I just didn't get any of the intended humor.
195 reviews1 follower
June 22, 2020
The coincidences and the neatly tied together loose ends are a little unbelievable, but this was a lot of fun! It’s about a young man, Jason, his friend Stumpy, and a vineyard he will inherit if he does not go to jail. The problem is, he’s about to go to jail for wrecking his stepbrother’s golf course when he gets fired by the stepbrother. The resulting plot reads a bit “sitcom,” but it really is a page-turner, I read it in two days! And of course, even in France, 99% of nuns are not in habit in the year 2020 (would you wear yards of crepe, a wimple and a veil in all weather if you had a choice?!). So again, it’s a bit improbably, but the characters are fun. It’s a good “beach read.”
9 reviews
October 5, 2020
I wanted to like this book more than I did--the premise sounded promising. However, I felt like I was reading the script of a Three Stooges movie. The writing and plot seemed aimed at an adolescent audience--certainly the protagonist, at 30+ years of age behaved in very juvenile ways. Although I have read other books I enjoyed despite having main characters that I found unlikable (eg., some of Anders de la Motte's books), those books had much more intriguing and engaging plots. I could see this book being used as the basis for a film script (and I think that it could be an entertaining film), but I just wanted to finish the book as quickly as possible.
317 reviews1 follower
July 2, 2020
If you are looking for a quick, fun read with ridiculous characters that get themselves into ludicrous situations, then grab this book! Be prepared, it is slapstick and pretty much unbelievable but super FUN! If you are looking for literary genius or really like to be a critic of plain, tongue in cheek fun, pass on this one.

I was amazed that Lundy was able to resolve all the dilemmas in a pretty believable manner. A perfect read for the times.
2 reviews
July 4, 2020
Delightful fun!!!

I LOVED this book! Not deep but completely engrossing. Laughed out loud and thoroughly enjoyed the read. I know these guys, remember growing up with them. So many crazy antics, but more than anything I enjoyed the ending. I will look for another one by this author.
19 reviews
September 20, 2020
Saving Grapes

I loved this book. Mr Lundy has a great sense of humor and flair for comedy that had me laughing out loud. At the same time, it was a wonderful story that I didn't see coming, with a perfect ending (that I didn't see coming either)!
28 reviews
September 4, 2017
Somewhat predictable but highly entertaining. This is a wonderful beach read. I would like to see this made into a movie!
Profile Image for Alison.
579 reviews2 followers
June 22, 2020
Fun read. A bit over the top with shenanigans but cute
August 15, 2020
A fun read.

A light hearted, fun to read story. Almost more catastrophes, than should be in one book. The ending was perfect.
Profile Image for Andrew.
627 reviews4 followers
February 17, 2015
My copy of this is an advance reader's copy provided through Goodreads giveaway.

Well what can I say?

It took a while for me to adjust to and find the humour, Is US and English humour the same?

I found the first State side chapters a bit difficult, but once the central characters Jason and Stumpy (Jason's lifelong friend) became established, things became a bit easier to grasp.

Clearly Jason is not on good terms with Eustace, but they have after all been brought up as step-brothers by Aunt Clara. However things become much more strained between the two, when Aunt Clara passes away. Her will leaves a lot of tension between the two boys. I loved the way this was delivered from beyond the grave!

After the court case between Eustace and Jason, we learn that Jason has only 30 days to raise $60,000 To pay the court and avoid a year in prison.

In order to raise the money he needs to go to the vineyard he hopes to inherit in France. Something he may find difficult, as he has had to surrender his passport to the court. How can the French vineyard really be the main setting for the rest of the story?

Once in France our two heroes meet up with Sister Claudette & Sister Lucia Morceau, they are running the vineyard; are they the sisters from hell or are they truly lovely? Only time will tell.

Have the dynamic duo escaped from the influence of Eustace for a few days? Will they be able to secure the money which Jason needs in order to settle up with the US court system and make sure he inherits the vineyard?

As the story develops, Jason and Stumpy seem to be learning a lot about the running of the vineyard and are getting on well with the Sisters from the convent. In fact Stumpy seems to be getting on a bit too well with Sister Melanie, a young novice nun. Jacqueline also seems to be providing something of a love interest for Jason too. Will they prove to be a distraction too far?

Enter Monsieur Aceau, the French avocat (lawyer) who acts for the vineyard company & the convent. We soon find out that because Jason has entered France without his own passport, he will find it hard to complete the legal process of inheritance even if he can raise the money to pay off the court and avoid jail.

This is where the story certainly does take on Wodehousian overtones. Jason need to raise a lot of money; he is in France illegally; Eustace has appeared to try to secure the vineyard for himself.

This is where I need to make sure I don't give too much away about the plot. There are some great scenes where our hapless heroes, Jason and Stumpy need to keep Eustace from meeting up with M. Aceau, in order to raise the cash, pay the court and inherit. After all, from Eustace's viewpoint Jason cannot be in France because he doesn't have a passport!

There are some clever twists and turns which I mustn't reveal for fear of spoilers. Suffice to say that in all I think this is a book which grows on you. I would happily recommend this book to someone looking for a light-hearted read.
Profile Image for Vicki.
468 reviews11 followers
February 19, 2015
J.T. Lundy, author of Saving Grapes, has a humorous idea, which is that Jason Barnes, a guy who habitually avoids hard work and responsible grown up behavior, is suddenly on track to inherit a vineyard worth millions...in France, no less! But his poor choices and boorish behavior mean he owes fines he has no money to pay, nor does he have money to buy a plane ticket to France. Not to be put off by the judge who is holding his passport, he has his friend Stumpy buy the tickets and actually BORROWS a passport, which, lucky for him, fools the TSA folks at the airport.

But in my opinion, Lundy did not create a sympathetic-enough bumbler to carry the lead. Barnes is selfish, self-centered and is apparently missing a moral compass. In anger, he destroys the property of his employer...maybe understandable, as his employer is also self-centered and selfish, and by the way, also his former step-brother.

It's harder to overlook Jason Barnes' harsh and unloving attitude toward his aunt, the woman who raised him, not to mention leaves him the vineyard! He has one loyal friend, but doesn't show him much in the way of kindness either. Once he gets to France, he realizes that the vineyard he is eager to sell is being run by some pretty formidable nuns who can prevent the sale of the vineyard if he does not cooperate with them.

As one might expect, the nuns show wisdom and patience beyond what Jason deserves, but in his desperation, he even steals from the nuns!! His former step-brother is hot on his trail, knowing that he stands to inherit the vineyard when Barnes fails to meet the criteria set by the judge and lawyers, and step-bro intends to do whatever it takes to prevent Jason from inheriting his aunt's vineyard. Lots of impersonating and trickery, even kidnapping, ensues, but the threat of a body cavity search was not appropriate in a romantic comedy, IMHO.

It is quite the adventure, but I am a little put off by the book's back cover blurb which compares Saving Grapes to P.G. Wodehouse's delightfully funny mad-cap romances, in which the women are always smart, the guys are hopelessly naive, and there is likely to be a brilliant valet, aka, Jeeves, to come up with the ingenious plan to solve the problem/win the girl's affection/save the day. Don't think the middle school body cavity humor would have made it into the Wodehouse books...
Profile Image for Jocelyn Khor.
33 reviews
February 17, 2015
I received this book via Netgalley in exchange of an honest review.

This was a fun and enjoyable read, undeniably. I'd say this book is a chick lit told in a male's point of view. Before this, I had never read and always avoided chick lit books by male authors because I used to think guys are supposed to be mature and calm, not silly and funny, running around falling in love. However, Saving Grapes changed my opinion, this sort of books can also be fun as usual chick lit books by female author.

The story itself was great. As the synopsis said, the main character, Jason, went to France with his best buddy, Stumpy. If you're expecting something serious and realistic, then no, don't read it. If you're someone like me who enjoys a fun, light-hearted read, then you definitely should pick this book up. Sure, the story might seems ridiculous sometimes, but hey, aren't all chick lit books like that? It's funny, it's enjoyable, it made me smirk, these proves that the story was amazing.

As for the characters, most of them were quite likable. Jason, by far, is my most favourite character in the story as I liked his sassy yet caring personality. The side characters were also certainly adorable! Stumpy, for example. The characters were the one who made the story memorable and entertaining to read.

As much as I like the story and characters, the author did a great job on writing out the atmosphere of France. I truly loved the beautiful setting and I felt like I could smell the baguettes and wines. I was able to picture the scene of the lovely vineyard where most of the story took place.

It was fast-paced and nicely done in my opinion. However, I thought the ending was too rushed. Everything happened too quickly and my brain simply couldn't handle it. Despite that, the story still ended the best way possible (J.T. Lundy, I see what you did there in the last few lines xD *wags eyebrow*). Loved the ending very much!

Overall, an amazing story and a very much pleasurable read. Will definitely check out more of the author's work! Highly recommend it to people looking for a fun read!
Profile Image for Lauren.
180 reviews11 followers
February 23, 2015
I received this from LibraryThing as a free advanced copy from the author or the publisher, although I really don't remember which it was off the top of my head and I absolutely loved it!

Let me start by saying that I hate romantic books in almost any sense, but I ADORE this book! It was a big step outside of my typical book-realm, but I'm so glad I read it. It's one of those books that would be great as a movie (**HINT HINT: SOMEONE PLEASE MAKE THIS INTO A MOVIE**) because there isn't really much you can leave out, and unless you left out something or someone major... like Stumpy or one of the nuns, you really couldn't screw up the silver screen adaptation. In fact, it would be totally possible to add to it. Ok, that's perhaps a long shot, but hey, it could happen.

Anyway, I picked it up and immediately thought (in monotone sarcasm), "Oh, boy. Another romantic comedy. I can't wait," but quickly became aware that I was unable to put it down. In fact, I almost missed my stop on the train because I was so engrossed in it and wasn't paying attention to where I was. You have been warned, future readers!

Lundy doesn't overdo it with the characters, which was quite refreshing. You know who's important and who's not, and you don't get bombarded with too much info about background characters unless it's relevant. That's a huge problem I've been having lately in my literary travels. Back to business though, I love how the supporting characters are relate-able, like the lovable idiot that is Stumpy or the stern old bat that is Aunt Clara or Sister Claudette. Lundy even had you routing for the screw up that was Jason, making it a wonderfully heart warming read that even those, like myself, that aren't fans of the genera can get into. If all romantic comedies could be as well written and enjoyable as this, I'd never stop reading them. If you read no other book from that genera, at least read Saving Grapes. It's funny, relate-able and just an all around good read.
Profile Image for Kathryn Laceby.
307 reviews3 followers
June 20, 2015
Originally reviewed at Novel Escapes

Saving Grapes was a madcap race through the French countryside rather than a novel about character development for me. But it was fun and fast paced and the crazy situations definitely amused me.
I was occasionally frustrated about Jason’s character and liked that Stumpy eventually put his foot down and said enough was enough. But it was hard to get into the seriousness of the novel’s situations without really feeling for Jason. He seemed stuck between genuinely interested in making amends and only being concerned with himself and it was tough to get inside his head.

I had a quibble with the passport issue- it seemed very unlikely that he would make it into France on someone else’s passport so that was a bit irritating every time it came up. I also wish we had had more time with Aunt Clara, she obviously cared for Jason as there was warmth shown when he was a child and “motherly” memories but it seems she dismissed him as he grew up and became more independent- I wish that hadn’t been so or that we’d had more time with them during the growing-up period of his life.

The novel was funny though and there were moments of beauty with the countryside and the peace of the nuns and their vineyard.

In the end I enjoyed reading Saving Grapes but it did leave me feeling like something was missing or that more could have been done to make the story utterly enticing. It all wrapped up in a perfect little bow in the end with a little twist I wasn’t expecting (but how else were they going to get out of the legal situation!).

Thank you to Emerald Book Company for our review copy. All opinions are our own.
Profile Image for Kay Murphy.
19 reviews
January 15, 2015
I received an advance copy of Saving Grapes in exchange for my review.

Fun, quick read (I read it in two sessions). It was humorous, but not laugh-out-loud funny. It is the story of Jason Barnes, a lost 32-year-old with no direction in life. His only real relationship is with a fiercely loyal childhood friend. Jason had a lonely childhood and was raised by his Aunt Clara who conditionally wills him a vineyard in France upon her death. The story follows Jason and his loyal friend "Stumpy" (the origin of whose moniker is not revealed) as together they attempt to fulfill the conditions of the will to inherit the vineyard. The novel has several interesting characters that I enjoyed meeting, but I did not develop an affinity for Jason other than hoping he would prevail over his nasty step-brother Eustace, who plots against him to inherit the land himself. There are some interesting twists and turns, and the conclusion of the novel was, although not surprising, fulfilling.

I could easily imagine the scenes in France, not so much the scenes in Kankakee. The characters were easy to identify with and for the most part plausible.

I've come to an age where I won't waste my time reading something that I don't like; instead, I'll pick up a new book and start again. I read this light story and enjoyed it.

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