Reader Review: "The Winemaker's Wife"
This well written historical novel is told from the point of view of three different women in alternating chapters. The first two are living in the Champagne making region of France during World War II,
Young and impulsive newlywed Inez is struggling to fit in at Maison Chauveau under the Nazi occupation. Born to a different life, champagne production is foreign to her. Having no family, the transition to her new life is made more difficult by the distance from her old friends, the isolation of the countryside, and the over-protectiveness of husband, Michel, who is secretly involved with the Résistance.
Also living at the maison is half-Jewish Celine, the wife of Theo, the Chauveau’s chef de cave. She’s a bit older than Inez and grew up making wine so the work there is second nature for her. She worries about her family as she struggles to remain under the radar of the Nazi occupiers. These two very different women struggle to form a friendship as they assist in the production of the champagne.
The third woman, newly divorced Liv, lives in the present (Summer 2019). Her elderly French grandmother, Edith, has arrived to whisk Liv off to France so she can move on with her life. But Edith has another motivation, secrets that she wants to reveal before it’s too late. It’s hard for Edith to share what’s been deeply buried for so long and progress is slow. While Liv awaits each tidbit about her grandmother’s past she explores the region on her own, finding some clues along the way.
The connection of Edith’s life to each of these women drives the action forward. During the war danger grows when chances are taken and mistakes are made. In the current day, Liv is beginning to resume living her life as she waits for Edith to divulge more.
You won’t want to put this novel set in World War II France down!
We meet Inez, Celine, Michel, Thor, Liv, and Liv's French grandmother, Edith, as the story moves back and forth in time.
We find out about the lives of the winemakers during the war and a secret that grandmother has kept for many years as well as a connection that the vineyards, a restaurant, and the characters have to both time periods and to their lives.
Grandmother Edith was my favorite character…mysterious and stubborn all rolled into one.
Liv was likable as well.
Inez, Celine, Michel, and Thor were interesting, and their wine tunnels were fascinating.
We learn more of the war, the resistance, the French people involved in the resistance, and how the danger of making one simple mistake could alter the safety of many people.
THE WINEMAKER’S WIFE is another marvelous, intriguing read about the resiliency and determination of the French people and the entire European population.
Those of us who were not living during this time, do not have any idea of the horrors and hardships endured by the European people.
Ms. Harmel weaved a beautiful tale filled with authentic characters and a story line that kept me turning the pages to learn more as well as cry with the characters.
Absolutely LOVED this book. Do not miss reading this book. 5/5