The Winemakers Wife
Sorry Kristen it’s not my favorite
I waited months for The Winemakers Wife to come out. I read it last month. I have to admit I sped through this book like I did her other books the writing was descriptive and the plot sounded great, but it wasn’t Kristen Harmels best and this is sad because I read her other two books The Room on Rue Amelie and The Sweetness of Forgetting. Both of those books were excellent and you can check out my reviews for them on this site. The Sweetness of Forgetting is on a list called Books that Take you to New Places. The Room on Rue Amelie review is its own separate review. Unfortunately The Winemakers Wife was another case of the plot sounding good on paper but not everything was executed well and you can tell it was in a rush to end.
In the 1940s France two women Ines and Celine are both in unhappy marriages with their husbands Michel and Theo who run the wine business. The four of them get involved in The Resistance against the Nazis in World War II. It also goes to present 2019 with Edith and her granddaughter Liv make a trip to France after Liv went through her own divorce. Wow! Is everyone getting a divorce or going through a bad marriage? I mean I know the divorce rate has gone up but really? On paper this was a great story, but it seemed like Kristen wasn’t as invested into this story and it seemed in a hurry to end which was why not everything was executed well or it just ends without an explanation.
Honestly the only character I really grew to like was Celine. She was a strong woman and she at least tried to resist cheating on Theo with Ines’s husband Michel. They were more suited to each other than Michel and Ines and her and Theo.
Theo seemed to be one of the stereotypical French citizens that wanted nothing to do with the war or the resistance. He wanted to stay hidden.
Ines I felt bad for her. Michel did treat Ines either like an idiot or a child sometimes. But at the same time she acted recklessly, especially having an affair with a man who you knew was suspicious and he was the Nazi collaborator. While she’s drunk she tells him about the affair the resistance how that Nazi guard who attempted to rape Celine was killed by her husband.
Michel as I mentioned above was kind of a jerk towards his wife but him and Celine were more of a match.
Edith is nearly a century old but she’s hiding much of her past from her granddaughter Liv.
Liv like I said went through her own divorce. Not much to know about her.
The writing was mostly good and descriptive but it wasn’t all good. Take this line for example after Liv spots her husband and Celine having sex in the cellar and comes to the realization that Celine’s child is also her husband’s child, she goes back to the Nazi collaborator YES THAT SAME GUY tells him what’s going on and says, “But in the morning nobody will love me.” This really sounds like something a teenager would say not an adult woman. It made me chuckle and roll my eyes when I first read that sentence. I knew from a mile away Edith was either Celine or Ines and I was right about Ines and after Celine was taken to the camps she had to take care of her baby and thinking she was dead they had to go to America and live a new life and that’s how Liv eventually came along. I did like the fact that Ines was forgiven by Michel’s spirit and they went to a peaceful afterlife. Liv gets with the French lawyer who’s the grandson of one of the jewfish people Ines and Celine saved. A few months later they’re at the winery where everything occurred giving tours, Liv meets her real grandmother Celine for the first time and we get to know a little bit of what she did after the war with her moving to Israel and finding love again and having a son because we knew at one point Celine left but not what she did till the very end. Celine also wants to get to know Liv and her family and it just ends.
Is it worth your time?
If you’re a diehard Kristen Harmel fan like I am then yes its worth the read, but don’t expect anything spectacular from it. If you’re going to read any of her books for the first time don’t read this one first. I think I would have liked this book better if we had more of Celine in the story and had seen what she did after the war. I would have liked it better if we did get to see Liv and Celine get to know each other and maybe Celine forgiving Ines for everything that happened. There were many ways this could have gone had it not been rushed.