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The Winemaker's Wife by Kristin Harmel

The Winemaker's Wife

by Kristin Harmel

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566319,314 (4.64)1
Title:The Winemaker's Wife
Authors:Kristin Harmel
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The Winemaker's Wife by Kristin Harmel



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Kristin Harmel is fast becoming one of my favorite Historical Fiction writers. This book was wonderful the characters were so well developed you could feel the emotions desperation, longing, love, and fear. Harmel really has a way of getting the reader invested in her characters. The historical details included were very interesting as well as a look into the making of Champagne. I could not put this book down it is one of the best books I have read this year! Loved it! Highly recommend. ( )
  Thelmajean | Sep 13, 2019 |
This book follows two story lines. Set during WWII in France, Ines, the wife of Michel, a champagne maker, believes that if they just follow the rules, the German conquerors will leave her and her husband alone. Celine, the wife of the chief wine maker, is half-Jewish, and fearful for the lives of her parents. In the present day, Liv is whisked away by her grandmother to France. Her grandmother tries to tell her about her life during the war, but is afraid to share her part in the devastation that occurred.

I had a hard time with this book. The characters just did not feel real. They were very stereotypical and one dimensional. Ines constantly told us how inexperienced and naive she was. She used that throughout the entire book as a justification for everything. I found this extremely off-putting. I would rather see character traits through actions and conversations. I also thought the modern day story was completely unnecessary. I felt that it did not add anything to the book. Overall, a bust. ( )
  JanaRose1 | Sep 3, 2019 |
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. ( )
  SilversReviews | Aug 13, 2019 |
Linda’s Book Obsession Reviews “The Winemaker’s Wife” by Kristin Harmel, Gallery Books, August 13, 2019

WOW! Kristin Harmel, Author of “The Winemaker’s Wife’ writes an intense, intriguing, captivating, riveting, page-turning, thought-provoking, heartbreaking and emotional novel. The Genres for this Novel are Historical Fiction and Fiction. There are two different timelines in this story. One takes place around 1940, and one is set in the present. Like pieces in a puzzle, the two eventually fall into place. The first timeline is during the occupation of France by Germany and World War Two. The story takes place at the champagne vineyards in Northern France. The author describes her dramatic cast of characters as complex, complicated, each with their own set of problems possibly due to the circumstances.

When one thing of good champagne, one associates it usually with happiness, cheer, and when congratulations are in order. I don’t think any of us can imagine, the blood, sweat, and tears that occurred in France around 1940 during World War Two in the champagne vineyards and caves. I don’t think we think of the German occupation and the French Resistance. I appreciate that the author has done extensive research during this time period. It is not something that is easy to forget.

Michel, the owner of the Maison Chauveau, a champaign house marries Ines. As the Germans get closer, Michel becomes preoccupied with what he feels is the appropriate things to do during the war. He becomes less involved with his wife. Michel’s top winemaker’s wife Celine is partly Jewish, and that becomes a concern as the Germans start to round up Jewish families. It is difficult during the worst of times, to really know who loyal people are.

This is a story of loyalties, betrayals, dark secrets, redemption, forgiveness, love, and hope. I was deeply moved and touched by this story. Be warned: Keep the Kleenex close. I would highly recommend this intense and page-turning novel. I can easily see this be adapted to the screen. ( )
  teachlz | Aug 11, 2019 |
Kristin Harmel is a wonderful storyteller who combines her beautiful writing with her extensive research to bring her readers another outstanding story. This time it's about a family winery near Reims during WWII. Many of the families who owned winerys in the area were part of the Resistance - some on a very small scale by using dirty bottles and bad corks on the wine that was for the Germans but others on a much larger scale - storing guns and hiding downed pilots and refugees in the underground caves where the wine was stored. The Winemaker's Wife is the fictional story of one of those families.

This is a dual time line book that takes place in the 1940s in France as well as current times in the US and France. As you read the story, you know that they will intersect at some point and when they do, it's a real surprise. I enjoyed both story lines and the characters in both time periods.

1940 in Champagne, France. Michael is the owner of champagne house Maison Chauveau. He lives there with his new wife Ines and his chef de cave Theo and his wife Celine. When the Nazis invade their area, they insist on getting all of the bottles of champagne that are bottled. In turn, Michael and his family are treated a little better than most of the people around them. As time goes on, things change and Michael becomes involved in the Resistance. His work with them along with love and betrayal from other people close to him affects the lives of everyone he knows and loves.

2019 in New York City. Liv and her husband have just broken up after 10 years and she is very depressed about the break up when her French grandmother, Edith, shows up and insists that Liv go to Paris with her immediately. After they arrive in Paris, Liv becomes aware that her grandmother is hiding secrets from her that may help explain the questions that she had about Edith's past.

This beautiful well written novel is about family - past and present and about love and forgiveness - not only of others but more importantly of yourself. ( )
  susan0316 | Jul 22, 2019 |
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"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. 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.… (more)

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