Title: Eight Hundred Grapes by Laura Dave
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Genre: Contemporary, Women’s Fiction
Length: 272 pages
Book Rating: B+
Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley
A breakout novel from an author who “positively shines with wisdom and intelligence” (Jonathan Tropper, This Is Where I leave You). “Laura Dave writes with humor and insight about relationships in all their complexity, whether she’s describing siblings or fiancés or a couple long-married. Eight Hundred Grapes is a captivating story about the power of family, the limitations of love, and what becomes of a life’s work” (J. Courtney Sullivan, Maine).
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…
Eight Hundred Grapes by Laura Dave is a delightfully charming contemporary novel. Set against the backdrop of a Sonoma vineyard, it is a lovely story about family and love, but most importantly, it is a journey of self-discovery for the main protagonist.
Georgia Ford’s wedding is less than a week away when, at the final fitting for her gown, she discovers her fiancé Ben has been keeping a HUGE secret from her. She instinctively runs home to her family’s vineyard where she is further stunned to learn that her parents and brothers have been keeping some very important news from her as well. With her entire world turned upside down, Georgia has a lot of decisions to make about her future while at the same trying to come to terms with the upcoming changes for her family.
Georgia loves the family vineyard but after a few rocky years while she was growing up, she chose a different path for herself. She is a successful lawyer on the verge of marrying and moving to Britain when everything falls apart around her. She hopes that returning home will give her the distance she needs from Ben to figure out what comes next for them, but instead of being able to fully concentrate on her own problems, she is swept up in her family’s drama as well.
Initially, Georgia’s solution to her problems with Ben is avoidance, but after he grows weary of being ignored, he unexpectedly shows up at the vineyard in an effort to fix their relationship. Ben’s explanation for keeping his secret is reasonable, but Georgia still harbors a few misgivings that he is being completely honest with her. A delicate dance ensues between them as they tentatively agree to move forward with their nuptials, but as their wedding date approaches, Georgia is still uncertain about whether she is making the right decision.
Eight Hundred Grapes is a very heartwarming novel that is quite captivating. The characters are multi-faceted with believable issues to overcome. The various relationships are realistically depicted and although the family bonds are a little strained, their love and support for one another is unwavering. The setting is absolutely perfect and Laura Dave brings the vineyard and surrounding countryside vibrantly to life. All in all, it is light-hearted read with serious undertones that fans of contemporary fiction are going to love.