Tuesday, February 16, 2016

The Vintner's Daughter by Kristen Harisch

Loire Valley, 1895. When seventeen-year-old Sara Thibault's father is killed in a mudslide, her mother sells their vineyard to a rival family whose eldest son marries Sara's sister, Lydia. But a violent tragedy compels Sara and her sister to flee to New York, forcing Sara to put aside her dream to follow in her father's footsteps as a master winemaker. Meanwhile, Philippe Lemieux has arrived in California with the ambition of owning the largest vineyard in Napa by 1900. When he receives word of his brother's death in France, he resolves to bring the killer to justice. Sara has travelled to California in hopes of making her own way in the winemaking world. When she encounters Philippe in a Napa vineyard, they are instantly drawn to one another, but Sara knows he is the one man who could return her family's vineyard to her, or send her straight to the guillotine. This riveting tale of betrayal, retribution, love, and redemption, Kristen Harnisch’s debut novel immerses readers in the rich vineyard culture of both the Old and New Worlds, the burgeoning cities of late nineteenth-century America and a spirited heroine’s fight to determine her destiny.

The Vintner’s Daughter is a lush family saga set in France and America's Napa Valley grape growing regions. The era is the late 1800's where a young woman, Sara Thibault, is passionate about her family's vineyards, and spends her days learning her craft in the hopes of increasing her family's reputation as exceptional vintners. When her father tragically dies, the family faces a tenuous future. Sara is determined to do what it takes to keep her father's dream alive. Her mother, however, sells the vineyards to a rival and their eldest son, Bastien, marries Sara's older sister, Lydia. His murder sends both sister fleeing France for America where Sara is determined to build a new life in the Napa Valley. Fate brings her into the direct path of Bastien's younger brother, Philippe, and she fights hard to keep her past from being exposed to him. 

I found myself fascinated with the story and the characters, eager to return to my book each night to see what Sara would face next. The book moves along at a steady pace, interspersed with details about the grape growing and wine-making business along the way. For a debut novel, the author has done a wonderful job. I am currently reading the sequel, The California Wife, which is a continuation of this compelling family saga. The Vintner’s Daughter is a very good book and highly recommended!

Thank you to the author and publisher. I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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