Having a four week old son my concentration span is not what it once was so I am currently reading "easy reads" only and this was given to me by my mum so thought that I would give it a go.
Synopsis (don't worry no spoilers)
The book follows the fortunes of three female characters who each end up owning a vineyard, Madelaine - growing up on a historic, traditional french vineyard.
Kelly - an English chambermaid who inherits an English vineyard
Christina - a super model come actress who grows wine in California.
As the title suggests the book centres itself around the wine industry - or to be specific the champagne industry with each of the ladies trying to produce a vintage champagne / method champagnoise for an international competition.
They are aided by three wine experts - each of whom places a significant bet on their girl producing the best champagne.
The book follows the fortune of the three different vineyards and also focusses on the love lives of the ladies running them.
This is a fast paced chatty novel which romps along, although you might struggle with the beginning of the novel, which struck me as being a bit out of place in this type of book. The action follows each of the ladies in separate chapters so it is easy to follow.
There are some graphic sex scenes - so if you don't like these then be warned.
This was one of the things that I liked about the novel as the heroines were all very different from each other.
Madelaine is the classic, educated, beautiful french woman - she is made out to be classy and extremely driven to producing good wine.
Christina could be any one of a number of American actresses - taking up a hobby of wine production.
Kelly - being a hotel chambermaid is far more keen on drinking champagne than making it (but of course this changes).
What did I think?
This story is light hearted and although you can probably see the ending coming (and I wont tell you what it is) but expect to giggle at some bits, blush at some of the sex scenes and really really want the heroines to find true love. Or perhaps my brain has just totally gone and this is a slushy book that is only suitable for the sleep deprived or to take to the beach.
There are some twists to the plot that you don't expect to see but again these are fairly gentle! Also the characters are very simplistic, you don't really get to know or understand any of them although I defy you not to have a favourite!
Either way i really enjoyed it and if you are going on holiday I would recommend this as a beach read.
It is a good thick book so should last you a couple of days.
Available from Amazon and all good book stores.
Vintage is one of those books which is exactly what you expect. It has a glossy, expensive looking cover, with a model clutching a bottle of champagne, its title and author splashed across the middle of the cover in bold, gold lettering. It looks to be a glamorous, sexy read, and it does indeed deliver on its promises - and a little extra something added in there too.
Vintage follows three women who enter the man's world of wine-making, well champagne making to be exact. Madeleine Arsenault is the daughter of a French champagne-maker, and is left his vineyard when he dies. Madeleine wants to produce a vintage wine of her own, and is determined to prove her critics, who don't believe a woman can create a great wine, wrong and to rise to the top of her game. Kelly Elson, a chambermaid in a hotel is also left a vineyard in a will, but unlike Madeleine, she doesn't want anything to do with it. Under the guidance of trustee Hilarian and and vineyard keeper Guy, she decides maybe there is something to be done in the wine business after all. Finally, we have Christina Morgan, an American supermodel whose marriage is in tatters, much like her career. Christina only takes on the vineyard as she has nothing else to do, but quickly realises she enjoys the work of making a new bottle of wine, and is determined to make a success of her vineyard.
The three female lead characters are all incredibly different, yet all have the same aims despite their different backgrounds and initial attitudes to their situations. Written in the third person, the book flicks easily between the characters in a comfortable reading style which transports you into the glamorous lives of the women. By the end, you are left feeling real empathy for all the women, and are completely absorbed in the story, feeling every emotion along with them. My favourite was certainly Madeleine, with her steely determination to succeed against the odds. However, all were likeable (although not at first in my opinion!) and even though they are all so different, worked well inside the story together.
I must admit it took me quite a while to get into this book. The start wasn't overly captivating, and left me a bit cold, so much so that I was able to put it down and not be desperate to pick it up again. However when I got past the first quarter of the book, it took a turn and drew me in - I just didn't want to put it down! You were suddenly thrown deep into the lives of the women - almost as if the author suddenly grabbed hold of what she was writing and took it on a complete u-turn from average to amazing!
The book does contain some quite graphic sex scenes as well, which don't seem out of place in the book. They aren't overly gratuitous and manage to fit in perfectly where they are written, so it doesn't seem like they are there purely for the sake of it. There is some coarse language used, but that seems to be commonplace in novels these days, so nothing too unusual there. Despite these scenes, romance isn't actually a main theme through the book, more a sub-theme, but it fits in well with the book and adds a different angle to the story as well as the wine-making side. Luckily, the author doesn't go into too much detail about wine-making, giving us just enough knowledge that we can understand the very basic processes without boring us!
Overall, once I got past the shaky start, I was thoroughly gripped by the book and really enjoyed what I was reading. The story was easy to follow, despite quite a lot of characters appearing throughout the book, and I think this is a credit to the author Olivia Darling. A very sexy fun read, not to be taken too seriously, but makes for very pleasant reading! I really enjoyed it and I was actually quite sad to turn the final page!
ISBN: 978-0340950791. Published by Hodder Staughton in March 2008. The paperback contains 560 pages. It's only available on the Amazon marketplace from 33 pence, but you can buy it new from Play.com for £5.49.
This is an amended version of my review which appeared on www.thebookbag.co.uk. under my name.
Thank you for reading!