“Do you ever think that the ghosts of the past are still with us? And that perhaps they’ve been here all along, to remind us of all we have lost?”
Thank you to Gallery Books for gifting me an advanced copy of THE WINEMAKERS WIFE by Kristin Harmel.
Hidden deep in the champagne caves near Reims lie some of the most precious vintages France has ever produced, but the walls are haunted by the stories and secrets from one of history’s most tragic eras: World War II.
In 1939, when Inès married her husband Michel, the owner of prestigious champagne house Maison Chauveau, it was supposed to be a fairy tale filled with nights sipping bubbly. Instead, she finds herself isolated and lonely, not even connecting with Cèline, the wife of the chef de cave. But when the Germans invade and the danger mounts, Michel turns his back on his marriage to begin hiding munitions for the Rèsistance while Ines is left with the fear that they’ll be exposed.
The risk is ever greater for half-Jewish Cèline as rumors abound of Jews being shipped east to an unspeakable fate. In a desperate bid for happiness, she recklessly follows her heart while Inès makes a dangerous mistake with Nazi collaborator. With one decision, they risk their lives for those they love and the champagne house that ties them together.
In the present day, Liv Kent has just lost everything when her eccentric French grandmother shows up announced, insisting that Liv accompany her on a trip to France. But has an ulterior motive— and a tragic, decades-old story to share. As Liv begins to uncover long-buried family secrets, she finds herself on a road to salvation that leads right to the caves of Maison Chauveau.
THE WINEMAKER’S WIFE examines how the decisions we make in a moment can change our lives.
When I read this book, it was following closely on the heels of me finishing THE NIGHTINGALE by Kristin Hannah. So, once I finished THE WINEMAKERS WIFE, I was so completely overwhelmed with the reminder of what this world went through during WWII. I’m not sure that I will ever be able to look at a bottle of champagne and not think of the long-forgotten history that surrounds the beverage that is so often paired with a celebratory experience.
I savored every page of this book and was transported back in time to the caves of Maison Chauveau. I felt the fear, the love and the utter despair that each character experienced. I wanted so badly to be angry with Ines for the decisions that she made but she had no way of knowing how her words would impact her for the rest of her life.
It was such a real and profound book that I could have sworn it was based on a true story. For those of you who loved THE NIGHTINGALE, I recommend that you check this book out. While there is not a lot of focus on what the members of the Resistance were doing but about how the lives of people were impacted while the Resistance was working.
THE WINEMAKERS WIFE had me holding my breath until the very last chapter. At times, it made me so anxious that I had to take a step back and do something to take my mind off of the heartbreak that I knew was inevitable.
Thank you, again, to Gallery Books for gifting me a copy of this book. Thank you, Kristin Harmel, for writing such an incredible storyline that taught me more about an era that seems to always be unfolding, even though it happened 70 years ago.
“You can’t rewrite the past. But, you can choose to live with your whole heart in the here and now.”
THE WINEMAKERS WIFE was released on August 13, 2019.