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 thinks 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.