The Winemaker’s Wife by Kristin Harmel is a 2019 book that was recommended by several of our patrons and we recently added it to our WPL collection. There are dual timelines to the plot, both set in the Champagne region of France. Harmel is a wonderful historical fiction writer, and she made the heartbreaking events in WWII France come alive as I read her novel.
In 1940, vineyard owner, Michel Chaveau, his wife Ines, and winemaker Theo and his wife Celine are trying to survive the German occupation of France and still keep their vineyard alive. They have differing opinions on the war and there are secrets affecting their relationships. Some are loyal to the Resistance, while others wish to ignore the war and just survive. In the 2nd timeline, Liv Cohn Kent is a recent divorcee who’s life is floundering. Her 99 year old grandmother, Edith, takes her on a sudden trip to France but seems to be hiding her reasons for the trip. As Edith visits people and places in France, Liv uncovers secrets that her grandmother has kept hidden.
I loved the Champagne, France setting for this WWII novel. The characters were well developed, although not all of them were likable. I liked the courage that was shown during the story, despite many betrayals as well. The Winemaker’s Wife really showed the struggle that the French people faced during the war years and beyond. If you love, historical fiction and WWII – make sure to read this book!