I just finished up the audio book The Last Vintage by Ann Mah. I was on Hoopla and found this book. The description said, “Sweetbitter meets The Nightingale in this page-turning novel about a woman who returns to her family’s ancestral vineyard in Burgundy and unexpectedly uncovers a lost diary, an unknown relative, and a secret her family has been keeping since World War II.” Hmm. I read The Nightingale and loved it so I thought I better try this book.
I often get frustrated when reviewers compare one book to another. I really did like Nightingale….Now the bar is set. As I read I often think…wow this is nothing compared to the other book…or wow, this book is somehow going to have a twist in it like the other book did. Sometimes I just wish the reviews said. WWII novel. Set in wine country. Father dies girl left with step mother. That might be enough description for me….BUT…I don’t think other people like that kind of a review so…I LOVED the book. It is a bit like Nightingale. It’s well worth you time to read it!
Here’s what Amazon had to say:“To become one of only a few hundred certified wine experts in the world, Kate must pass the notoriously difficult Master of Wine examination. She’s failed twice before; her third attempt will be her last chance. Suddenly finding herself without a job and with the test a few months away, she travels to Burgundy to spend the fall at the vineyard estate that has belonged to her family for generations. There she can bolster her shaky knowledge of Burgundian vintages and reconnect with her cousin Nico and his wife, Heather, who now oversee day-to-day management of the grapes. The one person Kate hopes to avoid is Jean-Luc, a talented young winemaker and her first love.
At the vineyard house, Kate is eager to help her cousin clean out the enormous basement that is filled with generations of discarded and forgotten belongings. Deep inside the cellar, behind a large armoire, she discovers a hidden room containing a cot, some Resistance pamphlets, and an enormous cache of valuable wine. Piqued by the secret space, Kate begins to dig into her family’s history—a search that takes her back to the dark days of World War II and introduces her to a relative she never knew existed, a great–half aunt who was a teenager during the Nazi occupation.
As she learns more about her family, the line between resistance and collaboration blurs, driving Kate to find the answers to two crucial questions: Who, exactly, did her family aid during the difficult years of the war? And what happened to six valuable bottles of wine that seem to be missing from the cellar’s collection?”
Amazon readers gave the book 4.9 stars. I do want to note that there were only 15 reviewers and those reviewers are often given advanced copies to read. However. I also sing the praises of the book and will happily give the book 4.8 stars. If you’re looking for a good book for a summer read, this one may be the one!