Light Through the Vines

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Pub Date 1 Sep 2022 | Archive Date 15 Sep 2022
Amazon Publishing UK, Lake Union Publishing

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In this tale of fresh starts in the Escape to France collection from bestselling author Fiona Valpy, Gina has lost everything. Can a crumbling old cottage offer her a new life, new love—and new hope?

Gina’s London life lies in tatters: she has lost her father, her steady job as a wine buyer and her suave but unfaithful boyfriend. When she also suffers the loss of her beloved aunt, a silver lining dawns in the shape of an unexpected legacy: Aunt Liz has left Gina her beautiful, if slightly ramshackle, house in the heart of Bordeaux wine country. With nothing left to lose, Gina takes a chance on a fresh start.

Throwing herself into her new life in the beautiful French countryside, Gina discovers the warmth of a close-knit—sometimes too close-knit—rural community and the exhausting exhilaration of the grape harvest under the late-summer sun. But just as she is beginning to feel like she belongs in her crumbling but charming home, she uncovers a long-hidden secret that makes her question the one person she used to trust the most. While she’s worrying that this is a sign to pack her bags and run, a storm blows a hole in the roof, and Gina finds herself with nowhere else to turn except her neighbour’s capable son for help.

Before long Gina finds herself admiring handsome Cédric for more than just his stonemasonry skills…But everyone she’s ever held dear has left her or betrayed her. And as the grapes ripen on the vine, can Gina find her way to forgiveness, and could it finally be time for her to open her heart to love again?

In this tale of fresh starts in the Escape to France collection from bestselling author Fiona Valpy, Gina has lost everything. Can a crumbling old cottage offer her a new life, new love—and new hope?


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Average rating from 40 members

Featured Reviews

This is a quick fun read with likable characters. The story moves quickly to a satisfying ending. The author is talented and gifted at making the characters come alive on the pages. The book was sent to me by Netgalley for review.

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Thank you NetGalley and Amazon Publishing UK, Lake Union Publishing for the eARC.
This was a lovely read, with a very likeable cast of characters, set in a beautiful area of France's wine country.
Even though I'm one of the few people in the world who doesn't like wine, the act of wine making was fascinating reading and the ending was very satisfying. I'm looking forward to reading the next two books in the series. Definitely recommended!

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Originally published as The French For Love, this is standard Valpy fair - British lady moves to the south of France for a new start after her life doesn’t go to plan, and she falls in love with a local. In this case, wine expert Gina faces redundancy shortly after breaking up with her boyfriend, so when she inherits a house in France she moves there while studying to become Master of Wine. It’s a quick and breezy read despite the requisite death and family secrets.

However it felt a little shallow at times, like I wasn’t given substance to back up some of the Gina’s feelings, including with non-love interest characters. From the woman who apparently ‘thinks of her as a daughter’ to a post-get-together relationship that seems to mostly happen off the page, I was left wishing that I was given *more* - the romance arc mostly consists of them being attracted to each other from a distance, dragging out the ‘misunderstanding,’ and the ending gets rushed. Also, as a non-drinker with little interest in wine-making, I skimmed through a lot of the wine-related chapters (I think this mostly bothered me in light of needing more substance to the romance/friendships - I felt like I was given all this wine-making while being short-changed on the deeper relationships).

I’d recommend if you want something that doesn’t require much thought and that you can finish quickly, but it didn’t leave me with the deep satisfaction I like from a romance.

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This book is a charming read with a cast of characters that you would want to hang out with. Don't be surprised if you find yourself wanting to book a plane ticket to France. Or at the very least, a trip to the liquor store to buy some wine.

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Light Through the Vines by Fiona Happy

Gina’s London life lies in tatters: she has lost her father, her steady job as a wine buyer and her suave but unfaithful boyfriend. When she also suffers the loss of her beloved aunt, a silver lining dawns in the shape of an unexpected legacy: Aunt Liz has left Gina her beautiful, if slightly ramshackle, house in the heart of Bordeaux wine country. With nothing left to lose, Gina takes a chance and moves there.

Previously sold under the title - French for Love

You always know what your going to get with books by Fiona Valpy. A brilliant read !
A heart warming story about a woman who has moved to France to study some after a bereavement.
Things don't always go right for Gina with a few hiccups along the way , but they eventually sort themselves out in a delightful way.
A wonderful read that takes to to a warm and sunny place. Perfect holiday reading.

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This was a quick summer read, set in France’s wine producing region of Bordeaux.

Gina is a wine buyer based in London, and she’s been having a tough year. Her beloved dad has died, her boyfriend, who was supposed to be “the one” has deserted her for a lover she never knew he had, an aunt living in Bordeaux - who has always been like a second mother - died suddenly, and a corporate buy-out means she’s been made redundant at her job.

Devastated and confused, when the Bordeaux home is left to her in her aunt’s will, Gina decamps to France and begins a specialty wine course that will help her land a better job. In Bordeaux, she quickly becomes a part of local life as she struggles to get her life back on track.

There are great descriptions of the winemaking process, a family mystery to solve and a sexy local man who has seen his share of heartache, too. The book flows in gentle rhythms as Gina works to carve out a life for herself.

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for my copy - all thoughts are my own.

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I loved this story. It is part of a set and I read in the wrong order but did not matter. Gina lost her job and went to live in her late Aunt's house in France. . She had to make peace with her mother, there was the mystery of why her Aunt did not marry. Three very nice builders, beautiful descriptions of a grape harvest and a love element that was all mixed up. Ace read

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A charming read set in the wine region of Bordeaux, Gina moves to her Aunts farmhouse following a redundancy from her wine buyers job. She soon embraces village life and embarks on a masters wine course. And possibly love is just around the corner too.
Vivid descriptions of the French countryside and wine making process make this an easy enjoyable read

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I chose to read this book because I had been reading heavy non-fiction, heavy non-fiction that I was rating highly. I thought I would read some light fiction, and I normally rate romantic fiction at 3 stars; thus, I couldn't be thought of as a reviewer who gave everything she reads 5 stars (although I do tend to only read what I think I will like). This book surprised me; it is clearly 4 stars, and I would buy a Fiona Valpy book (in English). I'm not even sure why it is being offered as an ARC since the book has been published in French, but it is my understanding that Valpy did do a little revision for this English edition which will come out the first of September 2022.

I thoroughly enjoyed the story. Interestingly, the month before I had read a romance that I bought because it was set in a place to which I had traveled. I have not been to France and wonder what my French friends will think of this book, but given that it was originally published in French, I think it must be accurate. In which case, the countryside sounds beautiful (and so lovely to read a French story not set in times of world war). Also, like the other story I read, the protagonist has lost a parent (in this case a father and also an aunt). The grief in Valpy's novel is there, but it does not take over the story. Also, her characters are quite likable.

The romance makes sense in the book. Yes, the conflict does revolve around some "How could you not know?" situations (even one of the characters says this), but it wasn't unrealistic.

A person could get this book for a parent, grandparent, older child, grandchild (if they liked romantic fiction) and feel that you wouldn't be offending anyone, yet still feel it was realistic, light reading, and even informative. The wine making business figures prominently in the book -- maybe a bit too detailed for some readers. However, I enjoyed it. I did not realize some of the challenges "old wine" has had to face with the advent of "new wine".

Thanks to NetGalley and Amazon Publishing UK for this ARC.

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I received an ARC of, Light Through the Vines, by Fiona Valpy. Gina has not had an easy life, everyone she loves leaves her, will Cedric be the same, or came then make it?

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“Light Through the Vines” is a republished book by Fiona Valpy. Here’s what I liked about the book - it’s a quick read. Ms. Valpy lived in France for a number of years and her description of the countryside read as being authentic. I also liked how she included pretty realistic reading descriptions of roof fixing and the countryside houses. The story itself is where this wasn’t as strong for me - and I know it’s a me thing. I really dislike the miscommunication trope … along with the making assumptions trope (they don’t always go hand-in-hand). So, some of the assumptions our heroine makes just didn’t sit well with me. I’m not into wine making; having worked with a number of people with Fermentation degrees, I’ve heard enough about it to last me a lifetime - but Ms. Valpy tried to make it interesting (you can skim those parts if you wish). I’ve read a few of Ms. Valpy’s more recent works and in this book I can see how her plots and character relationships have matured over the years. It’s not a bad book - it just didn’t quite work for me - but if you like Ms. Valpy’s later books, do give this one a try.

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A definitely quick summer read. The rural of Bordeaux and the warm feeling of neighborhood which has been slowly darted away from us. I love how the wine making process was quite elaborated and not only as a plot device to make the main characters has something together. But it also become the flaw as it was too detailed more than the relationship of Gina, the main character, with her surroundings. It feels so distant even with her point of view. Or maybe that’s the point. The misunderstandings were quite irritating for me and dragged for a little too much as the one of the most important things to her character.

One thing that I love the most is the fact it also stress in the way a rural living is like as it demands some of our time to belong. The feeling of inclusion joined by alienation is aligned by how the past events has built them into what they were. Wrapped in suspicions, lack of trust, and devastation. But in the end, the process of nurturing the grapes into wine that is telling us everything needs time and process to grow into a ripen fruitful thing. That there’s the light throught the vines.

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Light Through the Vines.
I liked it. I wanted to love it. I also wanted more.
It's about a British woman who inherits her aunts house in the south of France and relocates there to pursue her dream of learning about wines and vineyards. In doing so she finds out secrets about her family and falls in love with someone she thinks should be untouchable.
I loved the idea of the story. Love the happy ending.
What I didnt love was the length of time it took to find a man, and then they were happily after after in the span of like 10 pages.

Overall, it was an incredibly charming read. I will read more of Valpys work and look for more in the series if there is some ..

Thank you to Netgalley and Valpy for the ARC.

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I received an ARC from NetGalley in return for an honest review.

I’ve enjoyed many of this writer’s books but this was disappointing. Light on the romance, heavy on ridiculous misunderstandings and much exposition about wine. A pleasant read.

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I have read and enjoyed Fiona Valpy before. While I think this new series is a little more frothy with a little less substance than her previous books, I did enjoy them very much! Perfect beach read,

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A sweet summer beach read. Book One in a three book series. Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for the early read.

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I have not read any books by Fiona Valpy and thought this one sounded right up my alley. And it is a delightful story with a delightful and scenic setting. set in Boudreaux, surrounded by wine (I love wine) and starting a new life made for a book that was sweet, easy to read and an enjoyable and entertaining story.

And being a shorter style book it was one you could pick up and read in a day or two without any problem.

I enjoyed it and look forward to reading a few more of her books in between some of my more intense books/reads.

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There are parts of this book that I found very interesting, like the grape harvest and parts I found very weak. When Gina decides to move into her late aunts house in the south of France temporarily she is leaving behind sadness at the passing of her father, her redundancy from a job she loved and her cheating ex boyfriend. There is mention that she might sell the house in France to pay off the mortgage on her flat but the flat in England is never mentioned again.

Although interestingly written I didn’t enjoy the misunderstandings and felt the ending was rushed.

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Light Through the Vines by Fiona Valpy is the first book of the Escape to France collection. I enjoyed all three of these and recommend reading all three! This novel was so charming, with the beautiful setting of Bordeaux wine country. I learned quite a bit about the wine making process! Family secrets, romance, and a happy ending, what more could you ask for?!

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This was a very enjoyable read.You really felt like you were in France and going through all the emotions of the main chapters.When you came to the end you realized what a great book and ending.I would highly recommend this book.

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I was in the mood for a light summer read not set at a beach house, so this fit the bill. The main character is at a crossroads in life after her dad has died, she has been let go from her job, and her boyfriend has unceremoniously dumped her. When she inherits a house in Bordeaux country for her aunt, this is a perfect opportunity to escape and start afresh. I enjoyed the novel, but it wasn’t quite the right fit for me. As a teetotaler, the extensive and exhaustive descriptions of wine-making bored me to tears. The romance was one of those where the characters are kept apart by a misunderstanding and then suddenly boom everything is resolved. I would have liked a little more development and nuance to the relationship.

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I wanted to read another book by Fiona Valpy, The Dressmakers Gift. I had hoped this book would also be about WW2 and resistance, but it was a contemporary romance set in the wine region of the Loire. Having said that, it was a well written story and an enjoyable read. Not what I was looking for but worth the time and effort. I am even willing to buy more French wine rather than Australian and know far more about wine production than at the start of the book.

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Another disappointment from the author. I had to DNF at 12%. The story is too repetitive if you read the other two books in the series before this one. Girl is miserably single because her male partner was a douche. She goes on a vacation to the same small town in France and voilà, she meets a charming guy she falls in love with abnormally fast, almost like insta-love. To be frank, I'm not up for it anymore.

If you wanna go chronologically through the series, this is the list:

1) Light Through The Vines (set during spring)
2) The Season of Dreams (set during summer and early autumn)
3) The Recipe for Hope (set during winter)

Thank you, NetGalley and Amazon Publishing UK, for providing me with an eARC in exchange for my honest opinion.

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Not the usual historical novel from Fiona valpy however am easy read, perfect for a summer day. Her books are always heartwarming and this one doesn’t disappoint, beautifully crafted characters, all a little bit flawed and damaged by life however with a lovely happy ending.

If you are looking for a book to lift your heart, learn a bit about the wine industry/wine making process and isn’t too challenging or complex then I’d highly recommend this one.

Thank you Netgalley the author and publishers for an ARC in exchange for an honest review

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I think I have read two of Fiona Valpy's previous books, including one which covered WW2 and the resistance which I loved. This book has a contemporary setting and is purely romance based. Our main character Gina moves to
France after inheriting her late Aunt's home. I loved the setting for the story and the beautiful descriptions of the cottage, the area and the wine making process. The romance element comes in the form of one of the builders who comes to repair the roof at her cottage, and it's one of those stories where they don't get together due to a misunderstanding, until right
at the very end when it is resolved and they live happily ever after. I enjoyed the various characters - from the awful Nigel to the lovely Mireille - we all need a neighbour like her! I read the book very quickly and enjoyed it a lot, I can recommend to those looking for an easy summer read on the beach or maybe if you aren't going away and just want some French sun shining through the pages of a book.

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This is a nice read. Great if you like historical novels. Or should I say books that are set around a historical period of time. Instead of always being 100% completely accurate to the times. It has some good characters in it and a nice element of romance running thoughout.

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I was confused a sI was sure I had read this before and then discovered it had been previously published under another title. Its a relaxing if predictable read and the characters are engaging.

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Thanks Netgalley and the Publisher. This book swept me away with the location, the storyline and the characters. I really enjoyed it.

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My rating:

Plot: 4 out of 5 stars
Writing: 4 out of 5 stars
Character development: 4 out of 5 stars
Overall: 4 out of 5 stars

Recommended for readers of:

Women’s Fiction
Historical Fiction



The book is beautifully written, set in the Bordeaux region of France, the scenery is described careful and with great detail. This made it very captivating and vivid. It felt like you were actually there. The characters were interesting and likable. Their actions were explained well, this made them realistic. A great summer read that captures you from the start.

Review copy provided by Netgalley at no cost to me.

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While somewhat predictable, Light Through the Vines is a tale of love and second chances. Cédric is an engaging love interest. Gina, on the other hand, is lost in her own emotions after learning about her father and her aunt. Accordingly, she is quick at making assumptions and a little too wishy-washy about what she wants for herself. A fast read.

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Gina moves to France and inherits her aunt's house in Bordeaux. She finds out that many years ago, her aunt Liz used to have an affair with her father, way before her father married her mother. Meanwhile, Gina meets handsome Cedric and as Gina is a bit insecure, she kind of has been distrusting people.

What I liked about this book is I liked reading about the beautiful scenic descriptions of Bordeaux France, that made me feel like I was in France with the main character. . Also this is a quick read and so if you are lookingto read a quick read historical or literary fiction, then this book is recommended. I also enjoyed reading about the wine making process in the story.

But the story is far predictable as I predicted most parts of the story. Other than that, it was beautifully written. Worth 3.5 stars.

Many thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for the ARC. The review is based on my honest opinion only.

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This author has such a way with words…..In this tale of fresh starts in the Escape to France collection from bestselling author Fiona Valpy, Gina has lost everything. Can a crumbling old cottage offer her a new life, new love—and new hope? I recommend if you want a fun, easy story with lovable characters. This author can tickle the funny bone and tug on the heart strings when they need to, and is a clever enough storyteller to not overindulge in either.

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Fiona Valpy never disappoints - each time I see a new title, I know that I am in for a happy read.
Set in France, amongst vineyards and sympathetic characters, this is a well written, thoughtful book. Pair it with a French rose and you're all set!

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This was my third book in the French series - I didn’t necessarily read them in the correct order but it didn’t present any problems at all, they can all be read interchangeably.

Fiona Valpy has this ability to write characters so well that they become your friends, even part of your family.

I’ve found the three books comely different in tone to the first of hers that I read - The Storyteller of Casablanca - but where she excels across all four books is her character creation, and pure beauty in her prose. The protagonist Gina. Is a delight, her auntie Liz is a beautiful soul, the characters on the periphery complimenting the both of them perfectly. And then you get those characters that, whilst brilliantly written, you don’t like so much - like Ed and Nigel. But the others make you feel like you’re part of this community.

Oh the idea of taking yourself off somewhere in the countryside (French or otherwise) with a glass of wine in hand and a handsome man down the round just sounds like bliss.

There’s no real twists and turns or red herrings which I’m glad of, as they would have felt out of place. Instead you get a warming, cosy book full of love, laughter and friendship.

I felt myself physically smiling whilst reading this, my shoulders relaxed and I just felt very peaceful. I ignored the real world for a little bit; I felt comforted by this book.

I appreciated how simply Fiona writes about Gina’s job as a wine buyer. When the characters understand a job, then it can be hard to explain it to the reader without it feeling jarring to the characters, but she’s provided enough for us to get a taste of the job but without it being overwhelming or confusingly technical. Her job is just part of her as a person.

One thing I did like was the little additions of the odd French word or sentence. Obviously, French people are going to speak French, but with an English protagonist and an English-speaking audience, there has to be a fine balance between the two languages. I admit my French is a little rusty but Fiona has chosen the right places to drop a phrase or a word so you get a firmer feel for it being set in French but you are able to follow the conversation.

I read all three books in as many days. Fiona Valpy is fast becoming a go-to author for me. These are reprint editions of three books previously published, and whilst I know there are only three in the series, I wish so much that she writes at least one more….or two, or maybe three.

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Light Through the Vines is a fun, quick read. It was lacking a bit in depth, but it was fine for a summer read.

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This is a lovely look into a vineyard in France. As Gina deals with the loss of her father and her aunt, but the inheritance of the vineyard. She finds out more about herself and her family while becoming friends with the neighbors and making a place for herself in the small community.

Thank you NetGalley for this ARC

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Nightingales “are the only bird to sing through the night, Gina. And they only sing while their babies are in the nest. Once they fledge, the parent is silent again. But it’s as if, while their children are with them, they can’t help but express the joy in their overflowing hearts.”

I’m thankful for the opportunity to grab a glass of French wine and escape to the deck for a few hours with Fiona Valpy’s first book in the ‘Escape to France’ series, Light Through The Vines. It truly was an armchair journey to the town of Sainte-Foy-la-Grande in southwestern France. Everything that you’d imagine would be found in this story is there - wine, cheese, sunshine, seasonal produce, French language, and stone homes with shutters. It truly was a delightful read.

I’ve noticed that sometimes when my life seems to be in tatters, I’m given an opportunity to see the light through the vines - and this is the case with 29-year-old Gina Peplow. When she discovers that she’s inherited a crumbling but charming house in the heart of Bordeaux wine country, Gina leaves behind Ed-the-cheater boyfriend and their life in London to take a chance on new beginnings in rural France.

Valpy has pulled from her own experience of relocating to France and running a successful B&B. Her personal struggle with becoming absorbed into the tight-knit community, culture and language is evident in Gina’s experience. Both Gina and Fiona appreciate the community network that is the essence of rural French life. Valpy’s time working a Cabernet Sauvignon harvest plays out in the book, making it more authentic as the author knows what hard graft it is.

I loved being immersed in the wine culture for a few hours this afternoon. I learned about the vintners who practice culture raisonne and try to keep French wine a more natural product, about the premier cru chateaux, as well as a little about what it takes to harvest grapes and produce wine.

The characters were fabulous. I saw a lot of myself in Gina; for example, when I’m frustrated, I clean. Like Gina, it gives me a sense of control when I’m feeling like I’m losing it! Cedric Thibault was dreamy, and I hope he shows up in book 2 but Nigel-comb-over-Yates was icky, and I don’t expect to see him re-appear.

I also enjoyed the mystery! Why were there negatives missing? What is the connection between her aunt and the mystery man?

Previously published as ‘The French For Love,’ this is one book you’ll want to have when a trip to France seems impossible!

I was gifted this advance copy by Amazon Publishing UK, Lake Union Publishing and NetGalley and was under no obligation to provide a review.

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Light Through the Vines is the first of Fiona Valpy's Escape to France trilogy of books that I understand was previously published under the title French for Love. Gina is struggling through some serious losses in her life: her father had recently died, her long term boyfriend turns out to be cheating asshat, she is laid off from a job in the wine industry that she enjoyed, and then her favorite aunt dies and leaves her French cottage to Gina. Through this novel, Gina grows as a person as she undertakes fixing up the cottage and starting a new life in France, including meeting a cast of interesting and likeable characters. Highly recommend!

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Another great easy read.
This is the second time I've met these characters and it was great to see their relationships came together.
Once again good descriptions of the local wine making community and the process of making wine.
Gina works with a wine company in the UK but visits her aunt Liz in France. After her return to London she finds herself circumstances change and she heads back to France, where her new chapter begins.

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Great, quick read.
Although it was a little predictable is was a nice escape to France. Characters were lovely and relatable. Great read for those looking for a quick, easy book to escape.

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