There are few things in life that get me more excited than a fabulous debut novel. When I can’t put it down, almost miss my train stops, and can’t stop telling everyone I come in contact with that they have to read it, I know I’ve encountered a special new voice in fiction. Kristen Harnisch’s The Vintner’s Daughter is just that kind of novel, so listen to me when I tell you: You have to read it.
Beginning in the Loire Valley of France near the end of the 19th century, The Vintner’s Daughter is the sprawling and engrossing tale of Sara Thibault, a fiery seventeen-year-old eager to learn everything there is to know about running her family’s winemaking business. When a series of events leads her to lose her beloved father to a mudslide and her beloved vineyard to her sister’s brute of a husband, the life Sara envisioned seems far from reach. After an unspeakable tragedy causes Sara and her sister to flee to America, the girl who once dreamed of running her own vineyard can now only dream of guarded secrets and survival. Sara’s journey takes her from New York to Napa, introducing her to a new way of life, a new world of winemaking, and the new possibility of love—even if it happens to be with the one man who could either restore her family’s land to her or send her to the guillotine. (And you thought you had problems.) The Vintner’s Daughter is a gorgeous and gripping work of historical fiction, and as I neared the end, I desperately wanted it to keep going.
The great news? It’s the first in a series. So it will keep going!
I truly loved every last drop of this book. The writing is lyrical and evocative, the history beautifully researched. I was thrust in the middle of the turn-of-the-century winemaking world—a world I knew nothing about, but one that I felt I was very much living in when wrapped inside of these pages. With the turn of each chapter, I was dying to discover what was going to happen next—in part because of the edge-of-your-seat plot, but mainly because of Sara and all of the other richly drawn characters. I was consumed by the people in this book. Sara is just the kind of passionate and resilient heroine I love rooting for. Her love of her family vineyard, Saint Martin, is reminiscent of Scarlett’s Tara and Meggie’s Drogheda, but she’s 100% a woman of her own. Philippe—her potential soul mate/gatekeeper of her future—is fully complicated and entirely human, not to mention a dreamboat and a half. (Definite Literary Hunk of the Month material, plus who doesn’t love a story of two people who probably shouldn’t be together but who absolutely, without a doubt should be together?) Kristen Harnisch does an amazing job of bringing to life characters you instantly care about and never want to say goodbye to, and I truly cannot wait to read book two, The California Wife.
If you’re looking to kick off the fall with a novel you won’t be able to put down, do yourself a favor and pick up The Vintner’s Daughter. I have the distinct feeling that this series is going to become as addictive as a good bottle of wine, and you definitely do not want to be the last one on the Kristen Harnisch bandwagon.
I’m thrilled to announce that Kristen will be signing a copy to give away to one of my lucky readers! To enter, please leave a comment telling me who your favorite fictional heroine is. Want to double your chances? You can also enter through my Facebook page! I’ll select a winner at random at 12:00 p.m. (ET) on Monday, September 14, 2015. U.S. only…good luck!!!!
*This giveaway has ended. Thanks for participating!*