Wednesday, 3 June 2015

Review: Eight Hundred Grapes by Laura Dave

Eight Hundred Grapes: A Novel by Laura Dave

Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication Date: June 2nd, 2015
Pages: 272
Source: ARC from publisher**I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review**
Rating: 4.5/5
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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 fiancĂ© is not the only one who’s been keeping secrets…

When the email landed in my inbox pitching Eight Hundred Grapes I'll admit to not really reading the synopsis. All I saw was the words, "for fans of Jojo Moyes." Sold. Done. Give me the book. In my opinion that comparison is pretty telling. Like Moyes does, Dave created a pretty gripping and dynamic story about family, relationships and learning to step outside the safe zone.

We catch Georgia as she's fleeing to her families vineyard in her wedding dress. She wasn't running from her wedding day. Georgia was actually in the midst of getting her final fitting when she was confronted with a secret her fiance had yet to share with her. Confused and heart broken, Georgia is unsure if she can move on over this hump and continue forward with her planned life with Ben. Hoping that the secret about what she should do lies with her family and the beloved vineyard she grew up on. Except the comfort she was seeking is shattered with even more secrets. Seems everyone in Georgia's life is full of them. Including herself.

Wine drinkers, actually anyone, will find the vivid descriptions of the vineyard and its workings so interesting. I think that's what really pulled me in. I'm not a wine drinker, but all I could imagine was this northern California landscape filled with beautiful vineyards and a small quaint town that I was about packing my bags itching to go. I don't know if Dave has experience on a vineyard or just did her research really well, but I think someone would be hard pressed to tell her she got the details and inner workings of how wine is produced wrong. Just the perfect setting. One I didn't know I wanted until I was reading about it.

I don't really want to give the reason why Georgia felt she had to run from her fiance, but it wasn't something that is an automatic cancel the wedding reason. It was more a shock and a "this will change everything" reveal. One where like Georgia, I would have needed to just process it and that includes being in my head going over how I feel. Georgia was right not automatically let Ben off the hook. For months he was keeping a big secret from her, that's not alright. This is your wife to be, saying you didn't want to hurt her is a weak excuse. Like Georgia, Ben not talking to her right away is more of a betrayal of trust than anything else. Honesty and communication is the basis of a healthy relationship. Ben never felt sincere in his weak apologies. It was like he choose Georgia, he loves her so that should be enough to forgo all emotions and just move forward like nothing happened. I was not a Ben fan. Georgia though, all her thoughts, confusion and the feeling like how can our relationship survive this were real. She clearly loved Ben, but in the end she didn't know if that was going to be enough. Georgia was easy to relate to and I was very happy with her decision making.

Georgia and her family was what really made this book for me. Her parents and twin older brothers were all so close, but there's still things being left unsaid or going through the cracks. Georgia was surprised by what was going on at home well she was living her life in L.A. It's hard when life is busy and gets in the way of keeping up with your family. Like with Ben, Georgia is shocked to come home and find out what's been going on with her parents and brothers. Georgia is a fixer and she thinks she can just step in and she'll fix everything. When really it doesn't work that way. The lesson of not taking the important people in your life for granted is a strong one throughout Eight Hundred Grapes. Or being comfortable and safe is not always the way to happiness. Dave does an excellent job of keeping Georgia and her family down to earth well showing the complexity of their lives.

Eight Hundred Grapes is a pretty short book, but the story told within is anything but lacking or rushed. Keeping secrets for the sake of hurting someone you love doesn't always mean you're doing the right thing. When that secret eventually is revealed(and if it's big enough it will be) it can be more disorienting and hurtful than if it was never a secret to begin with. I really loved how Dave explored that and even how the strongest relationships still need the hard work to keep them at their best. I look forward to picking up more of Daves books.

Happy reading!


1 comment:

  1. oh! I am adding this to my TBR right now, especially since it is not rushed and a stand alone!
    Missie @ A Flurry of Ponderings