Stevie Carroll's Reviews > The Winemaker's Wife

The Winemaker's Wife by Kristin Harmel
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it was amazing
bookshelves: reviewed-elsewhere

Previously reviewed on The Good, The Bad, and The Unread:

Kristin Harmel is a new author for me, but I’m a great fan of stories set in two eras, with the link being members of the families involved, both past and present. I also enjoy seeing protagonists figure out how lessons their relatives learned in previous generations can also instruct them all as to their next steps following an upheaval. In this instance, Liv Kent is trying to move on from the sudden breakdown of her marriage, as well as from the previous disappointment of several unsuccessful rounds of IVF, when her wealthy and eccentric grandmother Edith breezes back into her life, announcing that they need to take a flight from New York to Paris, for reasons that will shortly be revealed. Having nowhere else to go, and being financially dependent on her grandmother due to the wording of her pre-nuptial agreement, Liv reluctantly agrees to the plan.

Once in France, the pair travel to Reims, in the Champagne region and Liv soon realises that this is another area of France with which her grandmother is very familiar, although she is rapidly learning that while grandmother Edith obviously has a story to tell, it’s going to take quite some time to prise it out of the old woman. Even the appearance on the scene of her Edith’s handsome lawyer does little to address Liv’s confusion, since he insists that the parts of the story of which he is aware are not his to tell.

Alongside Liv’s story, we also learn what happened at one particular vineyard in the region during the Second World War. Owned by the new husband of Edith’s best friend, the vineyard, along with those around it, soon attracts the attention of the occupying Germans – and their commander also shows far too much interest in both the young women living there: Edith’s friends Inès and Céline, who is married to the vineyard’s chef de cave and whose father is Jewish.

As the occupation continues, both women fear for their livelihoods and their marriages. Inès’ husband gets involved in the Resistance, while Céline’s seems blissfully unaware of the dangers facing his wife and, more especially, her family. Both seek solace in affairs – Inès in Reims, where her friend Edith is married to a restaurant owner, and Céline closer to home, taking advantage of Inès frequent absences and avoidance of anything to do with the war or the Resistance. Eventually, things begin to disintegrate, and both women, along with their husbands, find themselves caught between occupiers and Resistance.

This was a wonderfully twisty book, and while I guessed some of the secrets and hidden identities before they were revealed to Liv, others came as a pleasant surprise to me. All the women were incredibly well written and it was easy to sympathise with their motivations, if not always with their actions. I definitely want to read more from this author.
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Reading Progress

Started Reading
December 8, 2019 – Shelved
December 8, 2019 – Shelved as: reviewed-elsewhere
December 8, 2019 – Finished Reading

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