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100 Pages A Day...Stephanie's Book Reviews

I absolutely love historical fiction and read a lot of it; I love to learn history this way.  I also enjoy reading science fiction, fantasy, horror, thriller and non-fiction science.

The Lost Vintage

The Lost Vintage - Ann Mah

"And suddenly I knew- as sure as the laws of chemistry- that remaining passive is no longer prudence.  It has become cowardice."


Kate is attempting to pass the demanding Master of Wine examination in order to move up in her career in California.  When the restaurant she works for closes suddenly, she takes her mentor's advice to return to the land of her roots- and her family's vineyard in Burgundy to brush up on her French wines. While staying with her brother and sister-in-law, Kate once again comes in contact with neighbor and once fiancee, Jean-Luc.  To clear her mind, Kate agrees to help clean out the family cave or basement.  While sifting through a hefty amount of junk Kate finds many items from an unknown family member, Helene Marie Charpin. Kate is rebuffed by her Uncle when she asks about Helene.  However, a trip to the library gives a clue about the family secret, Helene was prosecuted as a collaborator during WWII.  This sends Kate and sister-in-law Heather on a hunt to uncover the truth.  While digging, they also uncover a secret cave, untouched since the war and filled with priceless vintage wines.


A family secret, a historical mystery and a romance round out The Lost Vintage. This story has many notes that were brought together like a fine wine.  I was drawn in by the beauty of France, the descriptions of the vineyards, grapes, wines and traditions.  Then I was intrigued by Kate's broken romance with Jean-Luc.  Then the historical mystery found me and I was captivated by Helene and her long lost journal.  Lastly, the suspense of tracking down the missing wine pulled me in even further.  The point of view switched between Kate and Helene's journal, I am a sucker for dual-time stories, so this suited me perfectly.  The plot did pick up for me when Helene's mystery was introduced.  I enjoyed learning more about the French resistance as well as the 'horizontal collaborators' and their fate.  Helene's story made me think about our choices for survival, making this a relevant story for many people during the present. I was pleased to find out that Helene's story was inspired by Resistor, Agnes Humbert, who I will be looking farther into.  Overall, an intricate story that mixes past with present, romance and mystery for a delectable read.


This book was received for free in return for an honest review.