I've read one of Laura Dave's novels before and loved it (my review of The First Husband was posted three years ago today!) so I was thrilled to read her latest, Eight Hundred Grapes. It was released back on June 2 and since then has been tearing up the best of summer lists - for good reason. I really enjoyed reading this one!
Here's the synopsis:
There are secrets you share, and secrets you hide…I think my favourite thing about this book is that it's not just about Georgia. Don't get me wrong, I totally loved her, but I really liked that there were amazing secondary characters who you wanted to learn more about. This isn't just a novel about one woman's relationship, though that is what puts everything in motion. It also has a little to do with careers and a lot to do with family. It's a book about life, really. I loved that because it was realistic. It was sweet, it was funny, it was hard, and it was messy. Exactly like life.
Growing up on her family’s Sonoma vineyard, Georgia Ford learned some important secrets. The secret number of grapes it takes to make a bottle of wine: eight hundred. The secret ingredient in her mother’s lasagna: chocolate. The secret behind ending a fight: hold hands.
But just a week before her wedding, thirty-year-old Georgia discovers her beloved fiancé has been keeping a secret so explosive, it will change their lives forever.
Georgia does what she’s always done: she returns to the family vineyard, expecting the comfort of her long-married parents, and her brothers, and everything familiar. But it turns out her fiancé is not the only one who’s been keeping secrets…
This novel is so well written and unpredictable in the best possible way. I didn't know if Georgia would be able to forgive her fiancé and I didn't know what would happen with the family's winery. Dave kept me guessing which made me more invested in the story. I couldn't assume I knew what the end result so turning every page was a delight because I truly didn't know what would happen next.
I loved that the book was set at a vineyard. I live in one of Canada's wine regions so I've come to appreciate the land and weather that's needed to make wine. There are lots of interesting facts about wine to be found throughout the novel (I'm sure the research would have been so tough for this one!) but it's all seamlessly woven into the story. Other than making you want to have a glass or two yourself, the book should also spark more of an interest in how wine is made.
I do have one important recommendation for you for when you read this book: read it in one go if you can (or at least in a couple of large chunks). I read bits and pieces on my short lunch breaks and I never felt as invested in the story as I wanted to and I expect I would have been had I read it on a Saturday afternoon. Dave has written a story that you want to become totally immersed in and you should definitely dedicate your next free weekend to reading it.
Final sort of side note: I had the chance to meet Laura when I was at BEA last month. I had a blogger friend get me into the party for her book and I am SO glad I was able to go. It was a nice, laid back event with lots of food and wine. Plus, Laura is an absolute sweetheart. I'll post more about that event once I finally get around to writing my BEA recaps (so much happened!) so stay tuned!
|Giant blogger + tiny author = massive height difference.|
*An advanced copy of this novel was provided by the publisher, Simon & Schuster Canada, in exchange for review consideration. All opinions are honest and my own.*