The Winemaker's Wife

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 13 Aug 2019

Member Reviews

Liv, recently divorced, is at loose ends. She doesn't know who she is anymore after being betrayed by her husband. In swoops Grandma Edith, who at 99, just drops in from Paris. Liv is told to pack and nothing else as her grandmother whisks her across the ocean. Liv has no idea why, but she may as well enjoy her French sojourn. From this beginning, the story goes back and forth between the French countryside of today and the same area during World Ward II. Kristen Harmel has written a well-researched novel that gives the the reader an insight into the vine culture of France and the horrors of World War II. I really enjoyed this book - finished it in one day!
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Having read The Room on Rue Amelie last year, I had high expectations for The Winemaker's Wife. It was so beautifully written with strong characters and an authentic story line. The Winemaker's Wife lived up to my expectations, and it is another historical novel that's going to stick with me. The book jumps between the present and the past and is mainly told through the voices of Ines and Celine. Forgiveness lies at the core of this novel...forgiving others and forgiving yourself.

I enjoy reading books that are set in the WWII era. Of course, there are heartbreaking moments because it was a horrific war with horrific war crimes. Yet throughout this book, moments of hope remind me that truly good people exist in this world. This type of book also makes me wonder if I would have been brave enough to hide Jews if I were in the position to do so. Would I have been brave enough to transport people in danger or smuggle guns to the allies? As the characters in this novel discover, circumstances can make us do things we never thought we would do...both right and wrong.

Thanks to NetGalley for providing me with an ARC of this novel.
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It took a few days after completing this book to consider reviewing this. It’s not a book that I could say that I loved, but it was interesting, sometimes heartbreaking. I found it difficult liking the characters, they are full of flaws that make them hard to like. 
 I found the switching back and forth between time and characters a bit distracting.
However, the story is worth a read.
Thank you To the author, Simon and Schuster and NetGalley for the ARC.
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It is about love and betrayal in World War Two takes place in the vineyards of northern France.. Then it turns to 2019 Liv gets a visit from her French grandmother with a tragic decades old story. A very poignant story.
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This is the story of the Nazis arriving in Champagne at the beginning of WWII and how the lives of the people running Maison Chateau are impacted.  The owner of the winery and his young wife, and the head wine maker and his wife, who happens to be half Jewish. 

We have a look into their lives as they try to survive by appearing compliant and keeping the Germans happy.  We see the fear of Celine as she fears for her parents and grandparents that have been sent to a work camp and fears that every arrival at the winery is there to send her off to meet the same fate as her family.  The coldness of Celine’s husband Theo, who doesn’t care about anything but making the champagne and does not comfort his wife when she needs it most.  The naivety of Ines who does not truly understand what the war means for France and the Jewish people.  The strength of Michel, the winery owner married to Ines, who vows to fight for France and falls in love and fathers a child with Celine.  

Each of these four have a different view and stake in the war and work together, and sometimes against each other, to try and survive and regain control of their winery and their country.  But even with the victory of the Allies over the Nazis, life has been irrevocably changed for everyone.  Everyone has lost something, has been changed by the events, and some lost everything.  The survivors need to find a way forward to forge a new life, yet some feel guilt for mistakes made during those trying times and can never learn to forgive themselves, no matter how much good they have done since.  Yet they must share the story with their descendants and so this story does.

There have been a plethora of books on WWII in France with the 75th anniversary of V Day this year, one of the few remaining anniversaries where survivors remain and can share their stories themselves, and this is the best of the ones I have read.  While this is a work of fiction, it is based on actual events and does not try to paint the Nazis as anything other than what they were. This story is well written and there are no German characters to make you think, not all were bad, some where just forced to fight.  Just the facts and how the invasion impacted one region and one house.  Never forget the past so that we may not repeat the sins of the past.
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Well researched story that takes you from occupied France to present time. After a devastating divorce, Olive's grandmother, a perky 96 year old, arrives and whisked her off to the family vineyard in the Champagne region of France. Here she must untangle the story of her heritage and heal her heart.
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I've read a lot of books that take place during the late 1930s and 1940s in Europe during WW2.  I will have to put this one up there with my favorites in that genre.  There are two stories you follow, Edith, Inez, Michel, Celine and Theo, who live on a vineyard in the Champagne region of France and Olivia (Liv) and her grandmother, Edith.  It's not a secret from the beginning that the young Edith from the 1940s is the very same Edith, Liv's grandmother, from present day.  The author draws characters you really care about and like and makes you feel part of history.  Ms. Harmel is correct in the author's note when she says I will never drink champagne again without thinking of its history.  I am looking forward to reading her other books.
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Liv has just gone through a divorce when her 99 year old grandmother from Paris arrives to bring her back to France.  Her grandmother Edith, has a story to tell,of love and loss, light and darkness, during WWII in Nazi occupied Champagne.  There are some twists to the dual timeline story, and much to tug at your heartstrings, including efforts by many owners of the vineyards to Resist.  Recommended.
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The Winemaker’s Wife is a wonderful story set in Rheims, France...settings and characters alternating between 2019 and World War II.  The author’s exhaustive research sheds light on a chapter in French history involving the French Resistance and wine country.  Rheims actually helped save France from German occupation.  Of course there are several love stories woven throughout the book which shows what length people of this era had to go through during this horrible time in their history.  Will there be redemption for some?  This historical novel is an excellent read and I would recommend it highly.  I would give it 5 stars.
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The book started a little slow for me.  Having been to this area of France, I enjoyed the overall storyline.  If you like love triangles and WWII stories, I would suggest this book.
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I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Set in the Champagne region of France during WWII, there are rich characters and a love story that has surprises around every corner. In 2019, Olivia has just gone through a messy divorce, and a few days later, her 99-year old French grandmother Edith shows up on her doorstep and whisks her away to France, where she tells her a story spanning decades. There's intrigue, romance and the making of very expensive champagne. There is beauty and there is sadness. This story will completely draw you in.
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I just finished this book.    Actually, I finished a little bit ago, but had to stop crying before I could write this.   

This told a story about events that happened during the war.    It also told a story during current times.    You know how they are going to intersect, but you might be wrong.  

The chapters alternated the story between the past and now.   Every time it switched I was happy to get back to the other story...at the same time I needed it to keep going.  In these cases, i often like one story more than the other.   But in this case I loved them both.    

I was drawn into the story, the characters, the history...  

Thank you to net galley for an advance copy.   This didn't affect my review at all.    I couldn't put this book down.
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I love all of Kristen Harmel‘s books and look forward to starting The Winemakers Wife. This book partial historical fiction with some chapters set in 1940, and others set in the present day. I enjoy books that have dual timelines like this one!

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.

Kristen has several other novels available to hold you over until this one comes out. I enjoyed The Room on Rue Amélie and that is available right now!

Order The Winemakers Wife here.
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Loved this book. I enjoy historical fiction, and am always interested to learn more about World War II, but this novel has wider appeal than that. It is romantic and suspenseful and truly touching. It reminds us of the humanity that exists even amidst the world's greatest challenges. A beautiful and heartbreaking book, I highly recommend.

Thank you NetGalley for the opportunity!
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I loved this book! The story weaves itself through two time periods, modern day and World War II and ties it all up in a suprising bow. The story is a love story in many ways but it's mostly a story about survival and resistance in the time of war. 
Inès is a young naive wife who can't find her place in her husband's winery. She feels useless and insignificant on the winery and feels ignorant about the truths about the war. She wants to feel important and needed so goes looking for love and attention elsewhere, not realizing that affairs during wars have terrible consequences.
Inès husband Michel and Celeste, the half-Jewish wife of the chef de cave, find themselves growing closer as the German's start to invade France's countryside. Their developing relationship puts them in great danger with even greater consequences.
The results of the actions of these 3 during the war span a lifetime. The tale tells of the love, heartaches, struggles, and regrets of those decisions.
This story touches your heart. It makes you cry for those who struggle and smile for those who survive. It will stay with you even after the story ends.
Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher  for providing this advanced copy.  The opinions are my own.
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This book is beautifully written and a true page turner. Kristin Harmel is a master of creating a setting so that you feel you are right there watching everything up close. I loved learning about the champagne industry and how its leaders led the resistance in France. I am inspired to read more!
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The story started out and ended very well. The middle seemed to go on and on and it was tempting for me to stop reading. It sometimes felt like the author tried to make the story longer and have more depth but all it did for me was to distract from the story. It was hard to put down in the beginning and I did enjoy the story. Thanks for sharing it with me.
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The Winemaker’s Wife
My thanks to #NetGalley for this ebook in exchange for an honest review. Set in Champagne, France in modern day and WWII, The Winemaker’s Wife follows the story of the women of one of the great wine making houses in France. As with many WWII stories, The Winemaker’s Wife is both heartbreaking and beautiful. The reader will be immersed in the wine making process, the history of wine making in the region, and the role of France in the end of WWII. There is a lot to learn here about wine making and the French Resistance – and love and loss. It’s a beautiful book, well worth the read.
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How many [pre] WWII books can one read? If the answer is not enough, this book's for you. Thankfully not bashed over the head with Nazis [though they are, naturally, a part of the story], but...  Again I'm in the minority of readers.

I can't help but feelinng save for learning a bit about champagne, I'd read this book before. Nothing necessarily new or original and at times, almost pedestrian. A fast enough read with characters fairly well drawn, but not necessarily sympathetic. And a dual timeline [2019] which I like. And, as usual, I like the older story better. 

Certainly a fast read, but often, I just didn't care what happened--although I did want to see how it panned out, That said, I pretty much guessed ALL the trajectories.

Some of the prose was cringeworthy [to me] and I found myself often saying: "oy" or "ugh."And all too much telegraphed. And the end--JUST. NOT. TO. MY. LIKING.
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This is another wonderful book set during WWII and alternates to present day.  The characters were well developed and at times, I felt that I was in the wine cellars with Celine, Theo, Michel and Ines.  For me, the description of the wine cellars and passage ways was quite real and believable.  

I read Ms Harmel's The Room on Rue Amelie in 2018 and found a new favorite author.  I especially loved the small reference to the prior book in this one.

Many thanks to Netgalley and Gallery Books for this advanced readers copy.  This is scheduled to release in August 2019!
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