The Winemaker's Wifeby Published 13 Aug 2019
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The Winemaker's Wife Ebook Description
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The author of the engrossing international bestseller The Room on Rue Amélie returns with a moving story set amid the champagne vineyards of northern France during the darkest days of World War II, perfect for fans of Kristin Hannah’s The Nightingale.
Champagne, 1940: Inès has just married Michel, the owner of storied champagne house Maison Chauveau, when the Germans invade. As the danger mounts, Michel turns his back on his marriage to begin hiding munitions for the Résistance. Inès fears they’ll be exposed, but for Céline, half-Jewish wife of Chauveau’s chef de cave, the risk is even greater—rumors abound of Jews being shipped east to an unspeakable fate.
When Céline recklessly follows her heart in one desperate bid for happiness, and Inès makes a dangerous mistake with a Nazi collaborator, they risk the lives of those they love—and the champagne house that ties them together.
New York, 2019: Liv Kent has just lost everything when her eccentric French grandmother shows up unannounced, insisting on a trip to France. But the older woman has an ulterior motive—and a tragic, decades-old story to share. When past and present finally collide, Liv finds herself on a road to salvation that leads right to the caves of the Maison Chauveau.
The Winemaker's Wife Reviews
3 champagne stars
This is a well-researched historical fiction tale set in the champagne region of France, mostly during WWII. I truly enjoyed learning more about the process of maintaining a vineyard, the process for making champagne, and a bit more about what the inhabitants of this region did as part of the French resistance.
The three women in this book – Celine, Ines, and Liv -- mostly didn’t capture my sympathy until the end of the book. They didn’t feel fleshed out and I struggled to understand why they acted in certain ways. I just didn’t connect to them in the way I do with a book that I love. There are elements of intrigue, secrets, and deception all woven into this one.
I really liked “The Room on Rue Amelie” by this author, so I will definitely read her next book, I wish I would have liked this one more.
Thank you to NetGalley, Kristin Harmel, and Gallery/Pocket Books for a copy of the book to read.
This is one of those times where I feel finishing the book was redemption.
This book features the Champagne area of France during WWII. We have alternating storylines with Ines Chauvin, Edith Thierry and Celine Laurent in the 1940's and present day with Liv. This is your standard historical fiction novel with a few twists, heartbreak and of course a background of tragedy with the holocaust casting a cloud over the novel. I appreciated the author's attempt to introduce a fresh perspective with the champagne house narrative and history, but it just didn't hit for me.
Most of the book was a challenge to connect to the characters. They are just so unlikable that it made it hard to find anyone to get behind in this story. I anticipated most of the twists that inevitably present themselves to the reader. I found myself finding most of the plot extremely hard to believe and was constantly rolling my eyes at the conveniences that kept popping up. I also hated the present day storyline- Liv and the lawyer fall in love almost immediately- is that realistic? Maybe, but not based on what the author wrote. While I appreciated the attempt Harmel tried with presenting Ines as someone that didn't believe what the Nazi's were orchestrating, I ultimately couldn't believe how stupid she was with her decisions during this period in history.
If I DNF'd books, this might've been one I would have set aside early on, however I am so glad I finished it. The end mostly redeemed this novel for me and brought my review up to 3 stars. This is one of those times where I am thankful that I am an eternal completest.
Thank you to Netgalley and Galley Books for an advanced copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
Rating: 3.5 stars rounded down to 3 stars
This is a dual timeline book mainly focusing on northern France during WWII. There are some contemporary chapters interwoven which helped propel the storyline. I’m giving the book 3.5 stars, rounded down to 3 stars. This book’s genre is Historical Fiction. For me there were not enough historical details about the French Resistance in the Champagne region of France during the war to sink my teeth into. It often felt more like a Romance or Chic-Lit/Women’s Fiction genre book.
There was a lot going on with the three main protagonists in the WWII era. There is Michel Chauveau, and his recently wed wife, Ines. Also in the mix are Theo and Celine Laurent. Michel recently inherited Maison Chauveau upon the death of his father. He has worked hard to learn the wine, specifically the champagne, business. Maison Chauveau is unique. Michel’s grandfather dug an elaborate system of caves under the main house. The grapes are made into champagne in the caves. The resulting bottles are stored and tended in the caves to until they are ready for market. Much of the dramatic action of the book takes place in the caves.
Theo is Michel’s chef du cave (cellar master). His half-Jewish wife, Celine, was raised in a winemaking family from Burgundy. She is a good resource for many facets of the wine making process. Ines is the odd person out in this mix. She has no wine making experience. She soon feels real and imagined slights from Michel and Celine. Her feeling of exclusion leads her to make some bad decision have catastrophic unintended consequences. However, she is not the only one with unclean hands.
Then we have the modern story of Grandma Edith and Liv. While reading the modern chapters I was usually impatient to return to the WWII era to see what new scrapes this foursome was encountering. This was a brutal time of German occupation, French citizens collaborating with the Germans, and French Resistance networks. Those elements were touched upon in the story. Michel was working for the Resistance. I would have liked to read more about that work in the book. The story often dipped into Romance/Chic Lit levels of angst, especially in the modern storyline.
I would recommend this book to wine making aficionados who want to learn more about the Champagne region during WWII. I would also recommend it to readers who usually enjoy Women’s Fiction and want to learn more about this region in France during WWII. The Author’s Notes at the end of the book also gave more resources for continued research about this era and region, and the backstory of how the book came about. I appreciated having that information.
‘Thank-You’ to NetGalley; the publisher, Gallery, Pocket Books; and the author, Kristin Harmel for providing a free e-ARC copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
In the Champagne region of France, newlyweds Michel and Ines owned a winery by the name of Maison Chauveau. During the 1940s when WWII breaks out, the Nazis invade their small town and take over the supply produced by their winery. Lucky for Ines, her life isn’t heavily affected by the war, but even still, her marriage is perishing before her eyes. And then Ines discovers that Michel is taking part in the French Resistance and she worries what his actions will cost them.
Celine and her husband Theo live in a cottage on Maison Cheuveau’s property, as Theo is Michel’s righthand man. When Celine learns that the Germans are arresting and sending Jews to work camps, she starts to worry, as she is half Jewish. Celine’s fears nearly consume her, but her husband doesn’t have the empathy she is looking for. Instead, she finds sensitivity in Michel, and they strike up a relationship, even in the midst of war.
In present day, Liz is recently divorced and doesn’t know what to do with her life now. She visits her 99-year old grandmother Edith in France—a chance to get to know her grandmother better while deciding where to go next. While in France, Edith starts to reveal stories of her past and Liv learns that Edith was more involved in WWII than she originally thought. She’s getting to discover her family’s history—but why did Edith wait so long to tell her story?
The Winemaker’s Wife is Kristin Harmel’s latest WWII novel set in France. I was intrigued by this story because it shed light on a part of French history I wasn’t familiar with. I never thought about how the wineries were affected by the war. I feel like the author could’ve delved deeper into how the Nazi’s invaded these wineries. This story doesn’t focus on the gritty, heartbreaking details of WWII and is instead more surface-level, which can be far more palatable for those who have a hard time reading about concentration camps. My problem with a lot of this story is the characters. I found Ines and Celine to both be unlikable characters and they both were only slightly redeemable by the end. I liked Liv, but I wish we saw more of her life. 3/5 stars.
Thank you to NetGalley, Gallery Books and Kristin Harmel for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
France, wine, WWII, present day, and love - all of this wrapped into one amazing, difficult-to-put-down read.
We meet Inez, Celine, Michel, Thor, Liv, and Liv's French grandmother, Edith, as the story moves back and forth in time.
We find out about the lives of the winemakers during the war and a secret that grandmother has kept for many years as well as a connection that the vineyards, a restaurant, and the characters have to both time periods and to their lives.
Grandmother Edith was my favorite character…mysterious and stubborn all rolled into one.
Liv was likable as well.
Inez, Celine, Michel, and Thor were interesting, and their wine tunnels were fascinating.
We learn more of the war, the resistance, the French people involved in the resistance, and how the danger of making one simple mistake could alter the safety of many people.
THE WINEMAKER’S WIFE is another marvelous, intriguing read about the resiliency and determination of the French people and the entire European population.
Those of us who were not living during this time, do not have any idea of the horrors and hardships endured by the European people.
Ms. Harmel weaved a beautiful tale filled with authentic characters and a story line that kept me turning the pages to learn more as well as cry with the characters.
Absolutely LOVED this book. Do not miss reading this book. 5/5
This book was given to me as an ARC by the publisher via Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.