BOOK REVIEW | EIGHT HUNDRED GRAPES
AUTHOR: Laura Dave
PUBLISHER: Simon & Schuster
PUBLICATION DATE: June 2, 2015
GENRE: Women’s Fiction
There are secrets you share, and secrets you hide…
Growing up on her family’s Sonoma vineyard, Georgia Ford learned some important secrets. The secret number of grapes it takes to make a bottle of wine: eight hundred. The secret ingredient in her mother’s lasagna: chocolate. The secret behind ending a fight: hold hands.
But just a week before her wedding, thirty-year-old Georgia discovers her beloved fiancé has been keeping a secret so explosive, it will change their lives forever.
Georgia does what she’s always done: she returns to the family vineyard, expecting the comfort of her long-married parents, and her brothers, and everything familiar. But it turns out her fiancé is not the only one who’s been keeping secrets…
Bestselling author Laura Dave has been dubbed “a wry observer of modern love” (USA TODAY), a “decadent storyteller” (Marie Claire), and “compulsively readable” (Woman’s Day). Set in the lush backdrop of Sonoma’s wine country, Eight Hundred Grapes is a heartbreaking, funny, and deeply evocative novel about love, marriage, family, wine, and the treacherous terrain in which they all intersect. (Description found on NetGalley.com)
Before you read this review please note that it may contain spoilers. If you want to be surprised, just know that this is an amazing book and you should definitely read it.
I started reading Eight Hundred Grapes exactly one week ago. I was so entranced by it that I read it on the train, at lunch, on the treadmill, while taking my walk, and while my husband was pumping gas at Costco. I just couldn’t put it down. It’s that good!
There are many many aspects of it that I love, so I will spare you from reading an extremely long review and give you my top three things.
The first thing I love is the cover. I’m the type of reader who ultimately decides to read a book based on what the cover looks like. I won’t even read the description if I don’t have some sort of liking towards it. Eight Hundred Grapes has a wonderfully simple cover making me wish I had purchased the physical copy. It would be a perfect addition to my bookshelf. What do you think of the cover?
The second aspect I loved is that the entire story revolves around wine. Wine tasting is a hobby that my husband and I do together. We both love our separate wines (white wines are my thing and he likes more reds), but it’s the experience that makes it worth while and finding that wine that makes you want to buy cases of it for fear of never being able to have it again.
This book made me think about wine in a different way. I know that it takes a lot of time, effort, and money to sustain a vineyard and make quality wine, but I never truly got a sense of that until I read Eight Hundred Grapes. Laura Dave created this great story with a lot of details about running a vineyard. Even getting down to the nitty gritty of what to put in the soil at each stage of the grape growing process. I wonder how much research was done to write such detailed descriptions of the vineyard and wine making process.
The third aspect I enjoyed was the family drama and boy is this book packed with it. The main character, Georgia Ford, finds out her fiancé has been keeping a very big secret from her…(spoiler) that he found out he has a child with his ex girlfriend. To top it off, it’s only days before her wedding that she sees him walking down the street, during her last dress fitting, with his ex and his daughter. He had been keeping it from her for months. That’s when she bolts from Los Angeles to her family’s vineyard in Sebastopol, CA.
What Georgia finds is that everyone she knows has something to hide; her mother, father, and brothers. I don’t want to give away too much, but there are fists thrown around, yelling, arguing, and a lot of figuring out what to do next. In Georgia’s case, she was trying to fix everyone else’s problem instead of her own.
Eight Hundred Grapes is a wonderful story about embracing where you come from and deciding what path you want to take in life. Nobody knows where their path will lead, but it’s about taking a leap of faith and hoping that you land on your feet (possibly in some well tended vineyard soil).
Overall, I would HIGHLY recommend Eight Hundred Grapes to all my fellow Women’s Fiction lovers, wine lovers, and good old family drama lovers.
P.S. I actually asked my husband (during our Costco gas trip) what he would do if he found out he had a kid while we were engaged. After giving me a look of pure terror, he said he’d definitely tell me. I gave him points for that answer.
“Maybe that was just childhood? You hurry up, pick the opposite path, try to make childhood end. Then, as an adult, you have no idea why you were running away.”
“Here’s why my mother fell in love with him, she said. She was sitting at the Chinese restaurant, hearing him talk of soil, about the importance of foundation. And she heard the rest. His belief, at the center of his winemaking, that with work, you can give something the strength at the beginning that it needs later on. Before it even knows how it’s going to need it.”
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Laura Dave is the author of the critically acclaimed novels The First Husband, The Divorce Party, London Is The Best City In America, and the forthcoming Eight Hundred Grapes. Dave’s fiction and essays have been published in The New York Times, ESPN, Redbook, Glamour and Ladies Home Journal.
Dubbed “a wry observer of modern love” (USA Today), Dave has appeared on CBS’s The Early Show, Fox News Channel’s Fox & Friends and NPR’s All Things Considered. Cosmopolitan Magazine recently named her a “Fun and Fearless Phenom of the Year.”
Three of her novels have been optioned for the big screen with Dave adapting Eight Hundred Grapes for Fox2000. (About the author found on her website at www.lauradave.com)
Thank you to Laura Dave and Simon & Schuster for providing a copy in exchange for an honest review. Book provided through NetGalley.com.