Book Review THE WINEMAKER’S WIFE

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TodayI Am Sharing My Review Of The Winemaker’s Wife

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THE WINEMAKER’S WIFE

The Winemaker’s Wife

Hardcover: 400 pages

Publisher: Gallery Books (August 13, 2019)

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.

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Instant #1 bestseller from The Globe and Mail (Toronto) and The Toronto Star

“Love and betrayal, forgiveness and redemption combine in a heady tale of the ever-present past…fantastic!” —Pam Jenoff, New York Times bestselling author of The Lost Girls of Paris

The author of the “engrossing” (People) 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.

Review

This book was received from the Author, in exchange for an honest review. Opinions and thoughts expressed in this review are completely my own

“Mark Twain, the great American writer was spot on when he claimed: “too much of anything is bad, but too much Champagne is just right”.

The Winemaker’s Wife

Champagne, 1940, at the cusp of the Second World War, Inès is the young wife of Michel, owner of the Maison Chauveau, a picturesque champagne house nestled among rolling vineyards near Reims, France. It should be an idyllic life, but Inès–who’s often treated like a child by her husband, his chef de cave, Theo, and Theo’s wife, Céline– is increasingly unhappy.

She’s determined to make a change, but then the German’s arrive.

Kristin Harmel narration is told through dual timelines from Liv’s life in the present and then between Inès and Céline during the war in the late 1930s-1940s. The contemporary chapters propel the story along, but past is a turbulent secretive echo of historical fiction.

Devastated, and heartbroken Olivia, has just recently been divorced is relived to have an excuse to go to France with Edith, her wealthy 97 year old grandmother.

While there Olivia grandmother Edith, slowly tells her incredible story of her and her friends the life she led during the German occupation of the village where she lived with her husband.

This is a dramatic and intricate storyline infused with World War II elements of tragedy, betrayal, and brutality, tempered with love, devotion and heroism. The author masterly allows the reader to unravel the threads of this literary tapestry.

Brilliant progression as the storyline gives you an incredible look at the French resistance during the German occupation amid the champagne vineyards of northern France. The author has created a compelling character driven, emotional resonate novel.

What really stood out for me and what I really loved about this story was the compelling and emotional layered duel timelines and how they connected the story and the family. We see the historical side to the story and then a modern side to it. Each are strong, interesting stories with their conflicts and heartache that shaped the people.

A deeply thoughtful historical fiction novel, based on details of real-life Resistance activities that occurred in France during World War II.

RELEASE DATE: AUGUST 13, 2019

Thanks to @kristinharmel and @gallerybooks

#thewinemakerswife
50 Book Reviews

What should we eat

while drinking champagne!

One of our favorite indulgences is lying on the couch with a good book and a bag of our favorite potato chips. Can’t get better than that, right? WRONG! Kristin Harmel, the author of THE WINEMAKER’S WIFE, has just made that experience better by telling us that we shouldn’t be drinking water or soda with those chips—we should be drinking champagne!

THE WINEMAKER’S WIFE, a historical novel set in the Champagne region of WW2 France, so she’s done a lot of research on champagne and is here to tell us that you don’t have to save that bubbly for a special occasion—it’s a great wine to sip with many foods, plenty of them not fancy at all. 

So pour yourself a cold glass of your favorite champagne, open that bag of chips, and discover the other surprising foods you could be eating alongside your bubbly! Watch Kristin share her suggestions in the video above, or keep reading for a transcript of her picks:

#1: Potato chips

The sharpness of champagne, its acidity, cuts perfectly through the salt. 

Which means that it also goes pretty perfectly with…

#2: French fries

#3: Spicy foods

The bubbles can balance out heat, so if you’re diving into something spicy, like a great spicy pad thai, pop open a bottle.

#4: Raw fish

Raw fish, especially sushi, is also an excellent pairing.

As is…

#5: Salty, buttery popcorn

Not only do the bubbles work perfectly with the butter, but the yeasty notes in champagne from Champagne, France, complement the toastiness of the popcorn.

#5: Fried chicken

Remember that acidity we mentioned? It also cuts perfectly through the grease in fried foods. So the next time you bring home a bucket of fried chicken, believe it or not, pop a bottle of champagne.

If you enjoyed her recommendations, be sure to check

out Kristin Harmel’s novel set in Champagne, France: THE WINEMAKER’S WIFE.

Excerpt

The Winemaker’s Wife  one  
MAY 1940
INÈS  
The road snaked over the lush vineyards of Champagne as Inès Chauveau sped southwest out of Reims, clouds of dust ballooning in the wake of her glossy black Citroën, wind whipping ferociously through her chestnut hair. It was May, and already the vines were awakening, their buds like tiny fists reaching for the sun. In weeks they would flower, and by September, their grapes—pale green Chardonnay, inky Pinot Meunier, blueberry-hued Pinot Noir—would be plump and bursting for the harvest.But would Inès still be here? Would any of them? A shiver ran through her as she braked to hug a curve, the engine growling in protest as she turned down the road that led home. Michel would tell her she was driving too quickly, too recklessly. But then, he was cautious about everything.In June, it would be a year since they’d married, and she couldn’t remember a day during that time that he hadn’t gently chided her about something. I’m simply looking out for you, Inès, he always said. That’s what a husband is supposed to do. Lately, nearly all his warnings had been about the Germans, who’d been lurking just on the other side of the impenetrable Maginot Line, the fortified border that protected France from the chaos besetting the rest of Europe. Those of us who were here for the Great War know to take them seriously, he said at least once a day, as if he hadn’t been just four years old when the final battle was waged.Of course Inès, younger than Michel by six years, hadn’t yet been born when the Germans finally withdrew from the Marne in 1918, after nearly obliterating the central city of Reims. But her father had told enough tales about the war—usually while drunk on brandy and pounding his fist against the table—that she knew to be wary.You can never trust the Huns! She could hear her father’s deep, gravelly voice in her ear now, though he’d been dead for years. They might play the role of France’s friend, but only fools would believe such a thing.Well, Inès was no fool. And this time, for once, she would bring the news that changed everything. She felt a small surge of triumph, but as she raced into Ville-Dommange, the silent, somber, seven-hundred-year-old Saint-Lié chapel that loomed over the small town seemed to taunt her for her pettiness. This wasn’t about who was wrong and who was right. This was about war. Death. The blood of young men already soaking the ground in the forests to the northeast. All the things her husband had predicted.She drove through the gates, braked hard in front of the grand two-story stone château, and leapt out, racing for the door that led down to the vast network of underground cellars. “Michel!” she called as she descended two stone steps at a time, the cool, damp air like a bucket of water to the face. “Michel!”Her voice echoed through the tangled maze of passageways, carved out of the earth three quarters of a century earlier by her husband’s eccentric great-grandfather. Thousands of champagne bottles rested on their sides there, a small fortune of bubbles waiting for their next act.“Inès?” Michel’s concerned voice wafted from somewhere deep within the cellars, and then she could hear footsteps coming closer until he rounded the corner ahead of her, followed by Theo Laurent, the Maison Chauveau’s chef de cave, the head winemaker. “My dear, what is it?” Michel asked as he rushed to her, putting his hands on her shoulders and studying her face. “Are you quite all right, Inès?”“No.” She hadn’t realized until then how breathless she was from the news and the drive and the rapid descent into the chill of the cellars. “No, Michel, I’m not all right at all.”“What’s happened?” Michel asked while Theo regarded her silently, his expression as impassive as always.“It has begun,” Inès managed to say. “The invasion, Michel. The Germans are coming!”A heavy silence hung in the damp air. How long would it be before the quiet of the cellars was punctured by the thud of goose-stepping boots overhead? Before everything they’d built was threatened, perhaps destroyed?“Well then,” Michel said at last. “I suppose it is time we finish hiding the champagne.”

Mark Twain, the great American writer was spot on when he claimed: “too much of anything is bad, but too much Champagne is just right”.

Ever since it was “discovered” in France in the 17th century, just about everyone has fallen under the spell of the effervescent wine. It can only be made in Champagne, north east France to have the status of Champagne the drink. There are more than 100 Champagne houses and 19000 grape growers, of these only around 2000 make and sell Champagne. There are an astonishing 50,000 different Champagne labels, so, if you thought Champagne was Champagne – think again. Tastes and prices vary widely. Part of the fun of being a Champagne drinker is working out which one you like best.

Raise a glass to Ruinart

Ruinart (pronounced Reenart) was founded in 1729, and it was the first established Champagne house and is therefore the oldest in France. In fact the company started on 1 September 1729. We know this because Nicolas Ruinart, the 32 year old founder, wrote in his ledger book that day that he was starting a business devoted to “wine with bubbles”. The ledger book takes pride of place in the entrance to the house.

History of Ruinart

Nicolas Ruinart’s uncle was a monk, Dom Thierry Ruinart, born in Champagne but sent to an Abbey in Paris. Whilst there he learned of a new “wine with bubbles” that the young nobles enjoyed. At that stage it wasn’t known as Champagne. It’s entirely possible that Dom Ruinart knew Dom Perignon the “inventor” of Champagne. They lived at the same time, shared the same interests and in fact both are buried in nearby Hautvilliers.

Dom Thierry told his brother about the new-fangled sparkling wine whose son, Nicolas, picked up the idea and ran with it, 20 years after his uncle died in 1709. The Ruinarts were textile merchants at that time and Nicolas owned some vineyards. He started out making Champagne for clients as gifts. But, the sparkling wine was a runaway success. Just 6 years after producing the first bottle, he gave up the textile business and concentrated on the Champagne.

About The Author

Kristin Harme

Kristin Harmel is the international bestselling author of THE ROOM ON RUE AMELIE, THE SWEETNESS OF FORGETTING, THE LIFE INTENDED, WHEN WE MEET AGAIN, and several other novels. Her latest, THE WINEMAKER’S WIFE, is coming in August 2019 from Gallery Books/Simon & Schuster. A former reporter for PEOPLE magazine, Kristin has also freelanced for many other publications, including American Baby, Men’s Health, Glamour, Woman’s Day, Travel + Leisure, and more.
Kristin grew up in Peabody, Mass.; Worthington, Ohio; and St. Petersburg, Fla., and she graduated with a degree in journalism (with a minor in Spanish) from the University of Florida. After spending time living in Paris, she now lives in Orlando, Fla., with her husband and young son.