All The Books I Can Read

1 girl….2 many books!

Review: Something In The Wine by Tricia Stringer

on July 18, 2019

Something In The Wine
Tricia Stringer
Harlequin AUS
2019, 384p
Read from my Nan’s stash

Blurb {from the publisher/Goodreads.com}:

Reserved high school teacher Keely Mitchell is more than ready for her holiday on the west coast of Australia, so when a medical emergency turns over all her plans and an intervention by a kind stranger finds her recovering in a Margaret River vineyard, she is at first downcast.

Keely had wanted to put recent traumatic events out of her mind, and recuperating alone in a stranger’s house won’t help that. But slowly the lovely food, spectacular wine and beautiful landscape of the area begin to work their spell. As Keely makes friends with the locals and adapts to the rhythms of the vintner’s year, she starts to feel part of the scenery too, particularly when her artwork and jewellery-making somehow find a home at Levallier Dell Wines.

But clouds are on the horizon in the shape of a warring father and son, interfering family friends and a rival in love. Keely didn’t mean to fall for anyone, but she can’t help her feelings for clever, passionate wine-maker Flynn Levallier. Sadly, it seems he only has eyes for the beautiful Kat, daughter of a rival wine-maker. Can what Keely feels be real? Or is it just something in the wine?

This was another book I hadn’t had the chance to read when it was released (so many books, not enough time) so when I saw it in my Nan’s pile, I was excited to be able to give it a go. I’ve read a lot of Tricia Stringer’s previous books and enjoyed most of them. However this entire book basically hinged on a premise that I found really difficult to believe…..and sort of felt was quite dangerous, in a way.

Keely is heading to holiday in Western Australia – she meets a kind, older man named Euan sitting next to her on the plane and then finds a few friendly guys at the backpacker place she’s staying. When she falls incredibly ill, she needs a place to stay to recuperate. The backpacker place isn’t really suitable, so Keely thinks of the man from the plane, who offered her a place if she was ever in the southern region of Margaret River and so she calls him. Bear in mind this is a guy she spoke to once, briefly, that she was seated next to. She really knows nothing about him truly other than he’s old enough to be her father and runs a winery. I just felt like that’s not really something someone would do in this day and age? Go and place themselves in a vulnerable position around people that they don’t even know. She needs to heal and if anything were to go wrong, she’s basically defenceless. It’s a winery, so the property is relatively rural, she doesn’t have a car as she’s on holiday. Obviously it’s fine and nothing goes wrong but it just seemed a very dodgy way to get Keely to the winery and there could’ve been other options than ‘hey, I think I’ll take that random older man up on the offer he made during a plane flight of short duration which is the only time I’ve ever spoken to him in my whole life’. If someone I met on a plane offered me to come and stay on their property I think I’d say thank you, that’s very kind of you and then literally never think of it ever again.

If you ignore that, the rest of the story isn’t too bad, but the father and his son Flynn bicker a lot about what to do regarding the winery and there’s quite a lot of stuff just thrown into the plot: the neighbour whom Euan is competing with (the two of them are both ridiculous and more like children than men almost at senior citizen status), the local busybody who seems to resent Keely for very little reason at all and is constantly popping up to be a source of annoyance, Keely’s overprotective family and her trauma in her teaching past, Flynn and Kat, Euan and Diane, misunderstandings and lack of communication ahoy. Keely soon makes herself quite at home on the winery and it seems like from a rather long way out she’s found the place that she wants to be but I wasn’t really sure why she wanted to be there so much. She doesn’t know anything about wine, she doesn’t really want to go back to teaching, there’s very little that would tie her to the area and the winery other than Flynn.

Which is unfortunately, my next point. The romance. I actually thought this was women’s fiction and even for that the romance was underdeveloped for me but apparently it’s actually rural romance which…makes it even more underdeveloped. Flynn is horrifically rude to Keely the first time or two that he meets her (he makes a false assumption) and when he finally gets around to apologising they really only interact in superficial ways and nothing happens until about the last couple of pages. Keely is quite open about how she’s falling for him to herself internally but…I never really understood why. For me the connection wasn’t deep enough between them (Keely actually spends most of the book thinking he’s going out with someone else) nor were their motivations explored enough. I never found Flynn all that appealing as a character, even though I will concede he was much better when he was away from his father. In his father’s presence he went from a 30-ish year old man to a child complaining he wasn’t getting his own way. And in Flynn’s presence, Euan was a stubborn old man burying his head in the sand.

All in all, this one was just okay for me. I did enjoy the setting and the winery/wine making aspect of the story. That seemed meticulously researched and I’m not really a wine drinker but I thought that was very interesting. It was good to read something set on the west coast and I really felt like I should visit Margaret River one day. The produce and the wines seem wonderful and the scenery as well.

5/10

Book #106 of 2019

Something In The Wine is the 50th book read for the Australian Women Writers Challenge 2019

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2 responses to “Review: Something In The Wine by Tricia Stringer

  1. Lily Malone says:

    You should definitely visit Margaret River one day – it’s a beautiful area – my stomping grounds 🙂 I am enjoying the stuff in your Nan’s stash and you’re on a real rural romance binge. Does your Nan have anything of mine hidden in her shelves? I might have to send your nan a book!

  2. Oh I wouldn’t believe that someone who was ill would end up at someone’s house that they only just met, that would actually really annoy me haha.

    Great review anyhow xo

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