So What Are You Reading?

Reviews of Books.

Monday, March 06, 2006


The Vintner's Luck. Elizabeth Knox

One summer evening in 19th century France, an angel visits a Burgundian farmer named Sobran. They share a bottle of wine and talk through the night. They promise to meet again each year on the same evening.

Each chapter of the book is named after a different French wine term and there is a chapter for each subsequent year. Some are very short and others relay the detailed events of the year leading up to the angelic liaison. I often couldn't see any relationship between the chapter title and the events depicted. Also this linear approach to a farmer's life moves slowly and I was often tempted to stop reading. However, the characters are warm and engaging and I kept with the book to see how they were doing. A charming book with realistic characters and good development.

I would have liked this book even more if it tied itself more deeply to the history of 19th century France. While the characters form a close-knit communal group, they seem only very peripherally connected to the events of the world around them.

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