Book Review: Eight Hundred Grapes

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Amazon synopsis: “There are secrets you share, and secrets you hide… What if your beloved fiancé, he of the crinkly smile and irresistible British accent, had kept a life-changing secret from you? And what if, just a week before your dream wedding, you discovered it?

Georgia Ford, bride-to-be, hops in her car and drives through the night, from Los Angeles to Sonoma, to her safe haven: her family, and the acclaimed family winery. Georgia craves the company of those who know her best, and whom she truly knows. Better yet, it’s the eve of the last harvest—the best time of the growing season, and Georgia knows she’ll find solace—and distraction—in the familiar rituals. But when Georgia arrives home, nothing is at all familiar. Her parents, her brothers, the family business, are all unrecognizable. It seems her fiancé isn’t the only one who’s been keeping secrets…”

Length: 273 pages (Kindle Edition)

Published by and date: Simon and Schuster on June 2, 2015

Destiny’s Thoughts

Where I found this book: My boyfriend gave it to me as an early Christmas gift. He knew I was getting into reading again and I was mostly reading romance. He’s also from Sonoma County and that endeared him to it a little.

How it’s written: Most of the book comes from Georgia’s point of view but occasionally there are some chapters that jump back in time and follow her father. In the present day, we find out the secrets of the Ford family and how Georgia reacts to everything her family has been keeping from her as she prepared for a new life with her fiance Ben. The flashback chapters tell the story of Dan Ford starting a vineyard and gives a look at his life every five years after making that decision. There is a lot is wisdom imparted on the topics of love, family, and happiness.

Why I like this book: I’m learning I love books where everything goes wrong and the main character just has to find out what they want for themselves. I know for me, so often I just want someone to tell me I’m doing the right thing but none of us really know. None of us can be completely sure one choice is better than the other and I think it’s important to not let others decide for you.

I also loved the chaos in her family. I come from a fairly big family and there always seem to be some kind of drama. Sometimes it’s personal and sometimes it’s between two family members. The important thing is that we get over it. We may fight and yell but, in the end, everything is laid out, fixed up, and settled. Reading this book, I knew their family would work out any problems that were threatening to break them apart because that is what family is: a group of people that have to accept you no matter your decisions in life.

Final Thoughts: The winemaking tidbits bolstered the novel in a way that I truly admire. It added authenticity. Georgia felt real and came to life with her intense knowledge of what it takes to make a bottle of wine. The details made me really appreciate all the work that small vineyards put into making wine.

As a millennial, I’m expected to like wine because it’s a cheap and easy way to get drunk. There is even a part in the book where Georgia and her brothers sour at the sight of a group of young adults leaving their family vineyard with all kinds of wine, clearly interested only in getting drunk and not the real work it takes to make good wine. Before this book, I had mild interest in wine but never really gave thought to the process or dedication behind each bottle. To be honest, I mostly went for the cheap ones because I saw no reason to buy something expensive I might not like.

This book made me see wine as more than an easy way to get drunk, though. It’s an art form. Between the soil care, the attentiveness to the weather, and the patience to know when to harvest, it takes true tact and skill to make something worth putting your name to. With that said, I live in California! Central coast is full of wonderful wineries and we take trips to Sonoma County often enough to find some great vineyards to try. I plan to take a few wine tasting trips to get a better feel of what’s considered good wine.

If you’re interested in reading this book, click here.

If you’ve read this book, I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Laura Dave has an upcoming book tour in June. She also has had some books optioned to become films, including this one. I can say with absolute certainty I would love to see this turned into a film. Though I can’t quite picture who I want for the cast.


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