GENRE: Contemporary Romance
Will the rare love that comes once in a lifetime win her over? Crush: A Tale of Two Vineyards is a compelling and enchanting novel set among vineyards in Southern France and Central California.
Spending summers at her grandparents’ vineyard, Clos de Harmonie, Olivia found her passion for winemaking and pursued a degree in Viticulture and Enology. Olivia accepts an invitation from a Frenchman to complete her master’s degree project at his family’s fifth generation biodynamic vineyard in France.
She and the French winemaker have an instant attraction. With her project complete, she struggles with the desire to stay in France and the knowledge she is neglecting her grandparents’ vineyard. Called back to California by an unforeseen turn of events, Olivia focuses on getting Clos de Harmonie certified as a biodynamic vineyard. Her dream is to make authentic, natural wine that captures the landscape and its essence in a bottle.
As she wrestles with her long-distance love interest, the challenges of reviving a rundown vineyard, and trouble with the landowner next door, Olivia finds strength in the human spirit and the need to prove herself in a sea of doubters.
An evocative story that awakens the senses, Crush captures the complex layers and enduring bonds of family amidst the dramas and joys of winemaking. The magic and mysteries of biodynamic farming come to life along with a colorful cast of characters in both France and California.
Professor Clark, my graduate adviser, walked to the podium. The guest speaker followed. With his lean build, he glided across the stage. He stood tall and relaxed in a white linen long-sleeved shirt and blue jeans. While the professor introduced him, he scanned the audience, and his eyes landed on me in the front row. I sat up straight and wished I’d worn something more flattering than jeans and a T-shirt. Mom always told me never leave the house without looking your best. His brown eyes met mine before he took the podium.
So, this was Lucien Laroche. I was to be his ambassador for the weekend. Professor Clark had asked me to take Lucien to consult with two wineries near Santa Barbara. Since I was going to my nana’s vineyard in the valley already, it worked out perfectly.
“Biodynamic agriculture springs from a spiritual worldview called anthroposophy,” Lucien Laroche stated. His French accent had me. “A biodynamic farm is a living system. A self-sustaining ecosystem that is responsible for creating and maintaining its health without any outside or unnatural additions. Each farm has its own unique characteristics.”
I followed his every move. His presence held my attention. My undivided attention.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Joye Emmens is also the author of She’s Gone. She lives in California with her husband.
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4 out of 5 stars
Crush: A Tale of Two Vineyards by Joye Emmens is a contemporary romance that follows Olivia as she pursues her dream to become a doctor of the grapevines in Napa Valley, California just as she discovers a new possible future with French winemaker Lucien (Luke) Laroche.
This story is both educational and a beautiful way to armchair travel. I had never heard of biodynamic farming but was intrigued by the esoteric ideas being espoused, even though I am definitely not the target for this type of product since I have never learned to appreciate wines. Some of the practices seem a little unusual and I think the blend of mysticism and pragmatism is nicely presented. A couple of the conflict resolutions were a bit too abrupt and strain my credulity and I was a little surprised to reach the end of the story because I wanted to see how things worked out, although one presumes that things continue in a positive vein.
The author does a great job of evoking the love of nature and the hard work that is needed to produce a fine wine and the importance of family support when pursuing one’s dreams. I love Luke’s sister, Lili, and hope that both she and Oliva’s brother get their time in the spotlight, perhaps with a few more of the loose ends tied up. This story was a great mini-vacation, with vivid descriptions that made me almost able to savor the warmth of the sun and the beauty of the grapes growing on the vine. I look forward to reading other works by this talented author.
A copy of this title was provided for review