What a wonderful and magical book! The characters were charming (well, most of them) and the plot was well-written, with just enough foreshadowing to leave me with the desire to continue to read to see if I was right. Mackenzie is a strong female protagonist, a talented winemaker who gets stronger in the face of adversity. Barbara, her domineering mother-in-law, is selfish and short-sighted, two characteristics that lead to her loneliness. Stephanie and Four, Mackenzie’s loving sisters-in-law, are the perfect matches to help Mackenzie through the rough times in her life. I really enjoyed how the plot unspooled itself, one thread or loop at a time. The book was perfectly written to make me ponder the themes: relationships, work v. family, single parenting and selfishness. There were characters that I knew from the beginning that I would not like, like Lori, the other sister-in-law, the one who tries to ingratiate herself with Barbara by disdaining Mackenzie. I honestly did not like Barbara and her manipulations at all, but I did understand that was all that she knew. I loved Bruno and could have just swooned when he appeared on the scene. He was a metropolitan man in a country setting, and he stood out as a super hero tends to do. All of the characters were complex and so well-developed that they have lived with me in my den for the past week or so. Fans of good romance will want to snap up this fantastic book! And the author has included bonuses at the end: wine pairings, recipes and discussion questions. This is definitely a great book to read with a book group! Disclaimer Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255, “Guides Concerning the Use of Testimonials and Endorsements in Advertising.”
2 people found this review helpful
The Vineyard at Painted Moon by Susan Mallery Emotion laden, deeply moving, intensely poignant, well crafted – this story grabbed me and didn’t let me go till I finished at 3am. I felt so much and at times wanted to jump into the pages to “fix” things knowing that the author would bring things right for at least some of the characters by the end of the book…or at least I hope she would! This is a story of love, loss, growth, endurance, values, goals and family. It is a keeper and one I would reread in the future. What I liked: * Mackenzie: dedicated, focused, interesting. She has been stymied for a while and may need to move on from the safe haven she has lived within for over a decade and a half. She has a rough time of it but comes through rather brilliantly in the end. * Catherine: sister-in-law to Mackenzie, loving, kind, in tune with the earth, grounded, warm, creative…really liked her. * Stephanie: sister-in-law to Mackenzie, divorced, mother of two teens, stuck in a rut and trying to move forward but it isn’t easy for her to do so. She is Mackenzie’s best friend and has been since college. * Bruno: wealthy, attractive, investor, wine distributor, and intriguing. He is warm, a good friend, caring, communicates brilliantly and is perfect for the woman he ends up with. * Kyle: a good father, professional, a bit selfish…divorced from Stephanie and father of her children * Rhys: not a bad guy, married to Mackenzie, wants what is best for both of them, a bit heavy handed at times and sometimes rather clueless…and also selfish, perhaps. * Georgio: a good man, loving, kind, generous, and perfect for the right woman – the boyfriend of Barbara (mother-in-law of Mackenzie) * The close relationships that were friendly, warm, and caring. * That there was growth in a number of characters. * The dynamics between various individuals and groups. * The way verbalization of feelings, thoughts, and insight into the characters * Learning a bit more about the winemaking business. * The setting – love that area of the world! * All of it really except… What I didn’t like: * Barbara: I won’t give details but if you read the book you will probably feel the same * Lori: daughter of Barbara and quite a bit like her, I fear. * The sadness I felt as I empathized with Mackenzie. Did I enjoy this book? Yes Would I read more by this author? Definitely Thank you to NetGalley and Harlequen (HQN) for the ARC – This is my honest review. 5 Stars
3 people found this review helpful
Even though I’ve purchased many of Susan Mallery’s books, this is the first book I’ve read of hers. I have a lot of catching up to do because I absolutely loved Mackenzie’s story. If anyone is debating reading this book, STOP! Grab this book and you’ll see why I fell in love with these wonderful characters. Sure, there’s a witch to really despise, but for the most part, you will be happily flipping the pages to see what happens next. As soon as times permits, I’ll definitely be reading more books from this author. I received an advanced reader copy of this book from NetGalley and Harlequin and this is my voluntary and honest review.
1 person found this review helpful