Note, the format of my Short and Sweet reviews differs in that they simply comprise the book blurb and a short response (hence, the short and sweet).
The pleasures of wine, food, romance and friendship are celebrated in Kayte Nunn’s debut novel. Set in Shingle Valley (which is really the Hunter Valley, NSW), where wineries abound, all these pleasures are ripe for the picking in a beautiful Australian location. Here’s the blurb:
With her heart in tatters after a relationship break-up, Rose Bennett swaps her hometown of London for the sunny shores of Australia – but she arrives to find the Shingle Valley shrouded in winter.
As the weather improves, Rose starts to unlock the secrets of the valley – from bonfire ceremonies and wine-making traditions to eccentric locals and their histories.
Despite herself, Rose starts to fall in love: with the valley, the wines, the two children she’s helping to look after – and with the handsome and brilliant Mark Cameron, owner of the troubled Kalkari Wines estate.
What will happen when Mark’s estranged wife, the tempestuous Isabella, returns? Will Rose find a future in the Shingle Valley, or will she be forced to leave?
Rose’s Vintage reminded me of a light, crisp wine. It’s not as complex as some, but a pleasant drop nonetheless. I’m a fan of food fiction, so the blurb was enough to get me in, although comparing it to Joanne Harris’s Chocolat was a stretch.
While I was drawn to the setting and enjoyed the interactions between Rose, Astrid and the children, I didn’t feel the chemistry between Mark and Rose. I also found myself questioning why Rose would keep giving Mark chances – his reasoning just didn’t win me over. The whole “spy” scenario didn’t work for me either. It seemed like an afterthought and it lacked the tension to make it believable.
A light, sweet romance, Rose’s Vintage is more ‘drink now’, more ‘classic white’ than aged in oak, but sometimes that’s all you want when you curl up with a book.
Available from good bookstores (RRP $29.99 AUD). My copy was courtesy of Nero.