by L.J. Martin is an intriguing tale that centers around a tightly-knit family business that encompasses several aspects of agriculture and production ranging from the cultivation of grapes and wine production to the business involved in bringing the various products produced by the Benvinuti family to market. The various branches of Benvinuti Packing and its involvement with such things as restaurant supply involve multiple members of Nick Benvinuti’s offspring but his adherence to tradition often puts him at odds with his children. Family friend David Drake has had a wide variety of experiences in his life which has aided him in his success but he unfortunately has been unable to transfer that success to his romantic relationships. A series of unfortunate occurrences pits him against Vicki Benvinuti, the woman who has always held his heart, and the threat to both of their empires may result in the destruction of everything each of them has fought to create.
This relatively contemporary story displays both an intricate love story and an intriguing look at the conflicts entailed in transforming from a successful business into an empire. The depth of detail providing an inside look at multiple aspects of business enrich the story which spans multiple decades and significant changes in the main characters’ lives. The juxtaposition between the past and present events gradually reveal details about the events that shape Vicki and David into the successful business forces they become even as it tugs at the heartstrings as one follows the disappointments that each has had. It was frustrating to see the misunderstandings that keep the two of them apart but fascinating to watch Vicki develop into a force to be reckoned with despite the opposition of members of her family who want her to assume a more traditional role. The glimpses of businesses which range from oil drilling to agriculture provide a richly textured backdrop for the vicious struggle initiated by those whose ultimate goal is apparently revenge although it is still a little unclear to me how much it was warranted. The story started a little slowly for my tastes but it definitely built into a very entertaining tale that had its share of twists and turns with multiple layers which ultimately resulted in a very satisfying resolution and made this a very enjoyable read.
A copy of this title was provided to me in exchange for an honest review.