The Winemaker's Wife

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 13 Aug 2019

Member Reviews

The Winemaker's Wife
by Kristin Harmel (Goodreads Author)

Ceelee Sunshine's review
Sep 17, 2019  ·  edit
liked it
bookshelves: 2019-books, arcs, historical-fiction, popular-fiction
First, I want to thank publisher Simon & Schuster, author Kristin Harmel and NetGalley for the opportunity to read THE WINEMAKER'S WIFE and providing me a free ebook ARC in exchange for my honest review.
Historical novels are one of my favorite reading genres and when I get to read a new one by an author I am not familiar with I am all for it! I was interested in THE WINEMAKER'S WIFE because it is set at a winery in the Champagne region of France during World War II. The story started out good enough. Then I hit the section "Liv". Uh oh. This is a book that is "back and forth through time" format. I am not a fan. For me, going back and forth between the past and present upsets the flow of a story. It was why I really detested SARA'S KEY. The modern story was so distracting from the central part of the story of Sara it ruined the historical part of the novel. At least Liv's grandmother was related tb the characters in the historical part of the book so it was a little better.
On the whole though, I really didn't like the book. The back and forth was a problem for me but also I didn't like the characters. Liv's story was a contrived modern romance. i saw where that was going the minute she and her grandmother Edith arrived in France. Edith was a little too much for me to take. Sure, she was 99 years old but I did not take to her or find her charming at all and now I know why. The WWII sections were OK. There are plenty of those types of novels being published every day so it wasn't a unique story. It was also more romance than historical. You could have set the characters down in any other time period and had the same result. There just wasn't enough depth to the story as I expect in historical novels I don't object to romance in that type of novel but I do expect something beyond stereotypes. I though the men Theo and Michel were pretty
bland characters and not that romantic at all. I didn't feel much love among any of them. Celine was a very flat and predictable character whose fate was not surprising. Inez was a spoiled brat who was unhappy she wasn't getting attention at home and wasn't into actually working so she went to her friend Edith's bar and got involved with a German officer. Gee, that was kind of dumb since she was basically fraternizing with the enemy. Not a very likable person. I wish we would have learned more about Edith but she seemed to be in the picture just for convenience.
The book basically sugar coated the war and the German occupation of France, The reader doesn't know much more about the real historical events happening in France and Europe when they finished the book. The details were just enough to create a little drama but didn't really go beyond general plot lines that was easy to figure out.
I really wish the book would have been more like the section at the end of the book where the author talks about the history of Champagne and wine making. It is the only part of the book I read with interest. I recommend this book for readers who love romance but don't care that much for historical details and don't want to get into anything with much depth or grim reality.
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I could not put this down, historicals like this keep me engrossed the whole way through.
Well researched with some contemporary chapters thrown in as well to balance the story out.

Published August 13th 2019 by Gallery Books.
I was given a complimentary copy of this book. Thank you.
All opinions expressed are my own.
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Thank you netgalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

The Winemaker's Wife is a fantastic historical fiction split between two worlds two generations apart.  The main story is set during WWII in the French countryside of Champagne.  Ines has married Michael, a rising star in the champagne world.  As she is struggling to find her place among the vines the Germans have begun taking over the area.  She is constantly comparing herself to Céline,  the half-Jewish wife of the chef de cave, she seems to fit in better, understands the work and has gotten very close to Michael.  Michael begins secretly helping the French resistance fight the Germans.  When Ines finds out she is shocked and in a fit of rage flees to her friend Edith in a nearby town where she meets a handsome man who sweeps her off her feet, but this one act of her own resistance may cost them everything. 

The second part is about recently divorced Olivia and her secretive Grandma Edith.  Edith has flown Liv to Paris to heal her heartbreak and reveal some uncomfortable family secrets from the past.

Kristin Harmel, author of The Room on Rue Amélie, is a wonderful storyteller and this novel does not disappoint.  It is full of interesting characters and twisting plot lines that end in surprise.  I was never sure if I liked any of the characters or if I was rooting for them all to win.  Pour a glass of champagne and enjoy this historical tour of the old country where the secrets are buried as deep as the wine cellars.
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The beginning was a little slow but about a quarter of the way in, I could not put it down. I was much more invested in Celine and Ines' points of view than Liv's, but I'm nitpicking here. I learned so much about the resistance by the wine makers in France and have more locations to add to my bucket list.
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What an amazing read! This was my first book by Harmel and I can't wait to read more of hers soon. Her descriptive writing style is beautiful. In a story like this, where you want to feel transported back in time, the descriptive style is so important and Harmel transported me to France's wine country. I could truly imagine the complex relationships between Ines, Celine, and Michel and the relationship between Edith and Liv.  The story line and characters were a little confusing to follow, especially in the second half of the book, but it all makes sense in the end. The build up in the first half of the book drags a little, but Harmel saved all the turns and twists for the second half of the book and I couldn't put the book down, sitting on pins and needles waiting to see what happened with each character. As someone who reads a lot of historical fiction, especially WWII, it was nice to read a story with a different location and perspective. Highly recommend!
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While I enjoyed this book, I wasn't able to do a full review due to my brother in law's passing and funeral at Arlington National Cemetery. We are next of kin and there has been many many details to attend to.
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A hauntingly beautiful and intriguiging story about occupied France during WW2. A story of love, trust and betrayal that spans multiple generations. 
I thoroughly enjoyed this book and decidely recommend to any historical fiction lover. 

Thank you to NetGalley for the opportunity to read the ARC.
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This book is well-researched historical fiction about the resistance movement in the Champaigne area of France and its role in the French resistance. The timeline follows two parallel stories, one of Inez as an elderly woman trying to reconcile her actions during the War and one of the Young Inez. For me, the character of Inez was too simplistic and this led to my discontent with her story. The plot seemed to follow the same lines as many similar stories. At one point I was sure that I had read the same scenes in another book.
I found the role of the winemakers interesting and would have liked that aspect of the story to have been developed more completely.
I would recommend this to those interested in historical fiction of this period.
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There's a lot to like about this book and yet I don't feel strongly either way about it. I liked the fast jump-in with the two main POVs, Ines and Liv, right off the bat and I enjoyed both characters. That being said, I didn't really connect Celine in her chapters and there were other characters I just didn't like in general, namely Michel. I think my main issue with this book was my own expectations. As far as historical fiction goes, it felt a bit too light on the history and a bit too heavy on the romance. That's fine of course, historical romance is a great sub-genre, but it wasn't what I thought I'd be reading so maybe that colored my opinion for this review. 

Because of that, it felt as though the history took a back seat to the lives of the characters rather than the characters enhancing the weight of the history. Either way, there's a lot to like about this book (Ines and Liv in particular) and the ending was just as it should've been. The pacing was a little slow but that was expected with multiple POVs and two timelines. I think if historical romance is your jam, this will be a fantastic read for you and I'd recommend it.

Note: I received a free Kindle edition of this book via NetGalley in exchange for the honest review above. I would like to thank NetGalley, the publisher Gallery Pocket Books, and the author Kristin Harmel for the opportunity to do so.
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The Winemaker's Wife is leisurely paced due to the structure of the story.  It is told through the view of three main characters, Ines, Celine, and Liv,  from 1943 and 2019. The story line takes one to 1943 France during the Nazi occupation and 2019 France. This story line is issue-oriented and sweeping, covering generations of characters. There is an emotionally intense tone conveyed, but not quite hitting the mark. The characters are introspective in telling their stories, letting the reader know their feelings and motivations. The writing style is engaging and thoughtful. 
I am impressed with the author's research of the Champagne region in France, and I found the Ines and Celine characters intriguing but I felt that the story with Liv was less impressive.  I found her character flaky and not matching the intensity of the others.
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Krstin Harmel once again proved her writing chops with The Winemaker's Wife. Harmel demonstrated with The Room on Rue Amelie that she could write with the best of the historical fiction writers and this latest release is no different.

Set in France during WW2, Harmel paints a story that shows choices have lasting consequences for generations. I found it also interesting to learn some of the history and facts about champagne production. 

Get your tissues ready. This is a book that you do not want to miss. This early will be on my list of favorite reads of 2019. 

Note: Sorry for delayed review. Experienced unexpected complications from an unplanned eye surgery
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Liv Kent is trying to overcome a bad relationship when her grandmother shows up at her door and whisk her off to France. This sends Liv on a quest to find out what her grandmother is hiding.

This story is told during two different time periods. One during WWII occupation of France and the other is the present. Usually when I read a book written in two different time periods, I enjoy the historical fiction part more. This was not the case in this story. I enjoyed present story the best. I loved the characters and the mystery. Liv’s grandmother is eccentric and a downright hoot! Plus, she is hiding something and she is not going to tell it till she is good and ready.

The World War II section is very unique. It incorporates the French resistance. Their struggles to save their country are truly amazing. I enjoyed the way the author expounds on the smuggling of weapons and the secrecy required to keep from getting caught.

This is such a well researched and wonderfully written book. Don’t miss this one!
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A wonderful story that will keep you guessing until the very end. I loved the dynamic between the grandmother and grand-daughter. World Ward II in France is always an interesting read for anyone who enjoys historical fiction. Kristen Hamel weaves a tale that creates a setting that you feel yourself living. I loved how the grand children became a part of the story and were able to better understand the sacrifices and choices that their  grandparents made. A wonderful story! Happy Reading!
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I thought this book was incredible. Based in wwII, France , we see the nazi invasion in a different light. There were lots of twists and a lot of love and heartbreak. I thought it was very well done. Thank you to netgalley for the ARC.
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I'm glad I finally trudged through this book, although it took effort. It's a dual timeline book, switching constantly from history to present day. That in itself was exhausting but I was also upset with the characters in the beginning as well. I mean, those people were not likable as they seemed to possess little moral values and I don't understand their actions. But it did make for an interesting story with some added twists at the end. The decisions made in the past definitely have strong impacts on the future. I would never compare this book to The Nightingale, but it was an enjoyable historical fiction with some additional romance and mystery.
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The Winemaker’s Wife by Kristin Harmel is a story of war, of survival, of betrayal and of redemption. The story opens in May 1940, Ines Chauveau and her husband, Michel have been married for almost a year. They live among the vineyards of the Champagne regions and produce some of the finest Champagne. News comes to them that the Germans have invaded France and Michel begins his preparations. Fast forward to June 2019, Liv Kent is 41 years old, jobless, childless and on the verge of divorce when her eccentric grandmother, Edith Thierry, arrives and takes to her Paris. The story travels back and forth between 1940-1943 as Ines, Michel and their friends, Theo Laurent, the head winemaker and his wife, Celine, deal with the German occupation and June 2019 as Liv is trying to figure out what her Grandma Edith needs to tell her but seems very reluctant to do so. Liv meets Julien Cohn, a family friend and lawyer who knows parts of Edith’s story but can’t reveal what he knows without betrayal attorney-client privilege. What horrors do Ines, Michel, Theo and Celine must endure in order to survive? What is the connection to Liv and Edith now? 
Last year, I reviewed Ms. Harmel’s The Room on Rue Amelie and loved it. When I had the opportunity to read The Winemaker’s Wife, I eagerly looked forward to it. Both books feature events surrounding the French Resistance between World War II. While I enjoyed The Room on Rue Amelie, I loved The Winemaker’s Wife! This book was filled with drama, action, intrigue and tears from the opening chapter to the closing pages. I enjoyed every character and loved how they evolved and did their part during the war. There are great moments which I can’t discuss as it will give away major plot twists, but it is a story of great endurance and survival. Most American history class teach World War II with a brief synopsis of the war before 1941 when the Americans officially entered the war, so I enjoyed reading about the French Resistance and the underground which fought against German occupation. One of my favorite quotes from the book is from Grandma Edith who says, “Many people lose more than they can image, and they find a way to carry one.” This statement certainly describes the individuals who fought against unbelievable odds to survive. I highly, highly recommend The Winemaker’s Wife. It is an amazing, beautiful story with twists and turns that just when you think you see where the story is heading, you’re wrong! It will not disappoint!

The Winemaker’s Wife
is available in hardcover, eBook and audiobook
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This beautifully told historical novel is set in Champagne, France, during 1940.  There is a dual storyline set in present day.  A fascinating look at two time periods.  I especially loved the 1940's storyline!  Recommended for fans of historical fiction.
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I enjoyed the twists of this WW2 and present day book.  I don't want to spoil the story but I enjoyed learning more about the production of champagne and that area of France.  Also the relationship between Olivia and her grandmother was interesting to read and find out more about them both.  
Read to find out more and you'll be glad that you did!
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This book was an incredible read. You easily feel for the characters and are invested in what happens to them. They are beautifully created. As I read this book it got harder and harder to put down and I even teared up near the end too. So glad I came across this book.
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Round up to 3.5 stars.  It took the first four chapters before I felt I was into the book, and then it got interesting and moved well.  The story line was good, and most characters interesting, but something about the phrasing/dialog didn't sit quite right with me; it almost felt like a translated book, and not from French, as one might have expected.
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