The Lost Vintage

The Lost Vintage

A Novel

eBook - 2018
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“If you enjoyed Sarah’s Key and Kristin Hannah’s The Nightingale, then this wonderful book by Ann Mah is for you.”   -- Tatiana de Rosnay Sweetbitter meets The Nightingale in this page-turning novel about a woman who returns to her family’s ancestral vineyard in Burgundy and unexpectedly uncovers a lost diary, an unknown relative, and a secret her family has been keeping since World War II. To become one of only a few hundred certified wine experts in the world, Kate must pass the notoriously difficult Master of Wine examination. She’s failed twice before; her third attempt will be her last chance. Suddenly finding herself without a job and with the test a few months away, she travels to Burgundy to spend the fall at the vineyard estate that has belonged to her family for generations. There she can bolster her shaky knowledge of Burgundian vintages and reconnect with her cousin Nico and his wife, Heather, who now oversee day-to-day management of the grapes. The one person Kate hopes to avoid is Jean-Luc, a talented young winemaker and her first love. At the vineyard house, Kate is eager to help her cousin clean out the enormous basement that is filled with generations of discarded and forgotten belongings. Deep inside the cellar, behind a large armoire, she discovers a hidden room containing a cot, some Resistance pamphlets, and an enormous cache of valuable wine. Piqued by the secret space, Kate begins to dig into her family’s history—a search that takes her back to the dark days of World War II and introduces her to a relative she never knew existed, a great–half aunt who was a teenager during the Nazi occupation. As she learns more about her family, the line between resistance and collaboration blurs, driving Kate to find the answers to two crucial questions: Who, exactly, did her family aid during the difficult years of the war? And what happened to six valuable bottles of wine that seem to be missing from the cellar’s collection?
Publisher: [S.l.]: HarperCollins, 2018.
ISBN: 9780062823335
Characteristics: 400 p.
Additional Contributors: cloudLibrary

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Jan 25, 2020

4 stars. This book is Mah's entry into the genre of WWII stories. Set in France and present day San Francisco, we meet Kate, a sommelier working on getting her Master of Wine designation. A decade before, she had turned her back on Burgundy and the man she loved, Jean-Luc. But the wines of this region have been her weakness on The Test so she decides to spend time in the family vineyard familiarizing herself with the wines of the region and helping with the harvest. Her cousin Nick and his wife Heather are happy to have her and Heather asks her help in a project to clear out the cellars. Kate discovers a bricked up alcove that stores thousands of priceless pre-war vintages and a mystery involving a great aunt Helene who isn't talked about in the family. Who hid the wine in the cellars? What role did the family play in the war? What is Helene's story? This was an interesting and enjoyable read.

Jul 08, 2019

Mah has created a compelling story that combines viniculture, family history, and World War II. When Kate returns to her family's home in Burgundy to help with the annual grape harvest and bone up on her local wine knowledge for the Master of Wine exam, she stumbles into a family mystery about an unknown step-aunt who died in 1944. As Kate and her cousin's wife, Heather, delve into family stories and records, they learn some very unsavory truths about their family's behavior in Vichy France. The author's themes of resistance vs. collaboration and idealism vs. survival continue to resonate in today's conflicts. This story would make an excellent book club selection.

Jun 30, 2019

This was such a great book. There were two storylines flowing throughout. One from WWII and the other from present day. Loved it and would definitely recommend the read.

Feb 02, 2019

Loved the historical part of the book and the background of the wine country in France and the depth of family to it's wine production. The romance line was very trite and predictable but not a big part of the story. Strong female characters determined to remain true to themselves no matter what the circumstance were a big pull for me. How the collaborators were treated after the war in France was true but how sad for the ones who had been in the resistance and were mistaken for collaborators. I am sure this was true more than once. Would love to read more from this author.

Oct 11, 2018

Great book. A family history with a mystery that goes back to WW11, a romance, and some great zest added with French food and wine.

Sep 03, 2018

The trite, Hallmark, fairy-tale ending is disappointing in an otherwise flawless book.

I felt transported to the Burgundy region of France. Kate Elliott's friend and cousin-in-law Heather wants to transform the family's ancestral home at a vineyard into a B&B. But, she first needs to clear out generations of family possessions stored in the cellar. Kate uncovers relics of her great-aunt Helene Marie Charpin. Who? Kate didn't know she had a great-aunt.

I loved how Ann Mah wove together Kate and Helene's stories in an engaging, intriguing, mysterious tale which demands an answer to: "which side of history were your ancestors on during WWII?" The resistance vs. collaboration tension is reminiscent of The Women in the Castle.

Aug 25, 2018

Wonderful book - It is a little difficult to get into because of the many references to the French Language, but keep working at it, if you don't know French (I don't). The book is definitely worth it! This is a historical fiction novel with a dual storyline. One takes place in current day California and in the Burgundy region of France as Kate Elliott returns to her Charpin family roots in France to study for her Master of Wine exam. The second storyline is in Occupied France where the Charpin family lived. Her great aunt, Helene Marie Charpin’s journals tell the story of the Resistance in German Occupied France during World War II and the fine line separating the Resistance from the Occupation.

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