A Vintage Summer
by Cathy Bramley
File Size: 2500 KB
Print Length: 407 pages
Publisher: Transworld Digital (March 21, 2019)
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Romantic Comedy
My Rating: 4.25 of 5.0.
A sparkling summer story that's FULL of surprises!
London has not been kind to Lottie Allbright. Realising it’s time to cut and run, she packs up and moves back home – but finds her family in disarray. In need of a new place to stay, Lottie takes up the offer of a live-in job managing a local vineyard. There’s a lot to learn – she didn’t even know grapes could grow so far north!
Butterworth Wines in the rolling Derbyshire hills has always been run on love and passion but a tragic death has left everyone at a loss. Widowed Betsy is trying to keep the place afloat but is harbouring a debilitating secret. Meanwhile her handsome but interfering grandson, Jensen, is trying to convince her to sell up and move into a home.
Lottie’s determined to save Butterworth Wines, but with all this and an unpredictable English summer to deal with, it’ll be a challenge.
And that’s before she discovers something that will turn her summer – and her world – upside down . . .
Lottie was excited to move to London with her new boyfriend. Slowly she realizes that he is cutting her off from others, becoming over-controlling and edging towards abuse. Lottie makes a smart choice to go home before things get worse. She arrives to find her sister in distress over estrangement from her husband over their childless status and her father ready to head out on a trip he never got to take before her mother died. Lottie is desperate to find a place to live and to find a job. She is shocked to fall into a live-in position as a manager of a local vineyard.
Butterworth Wines is owned by Betsy, a recent widow whose husband was the leader and driving force behind the vineyard. Most of the workers are volunteers. Although Lottie knows nothing about viticulture (vine growing and harvesting), she is willing to work hard and learn fast. This works especially since everyone is thrilled to let her take control. The only person challenging her inexperience is Betsy’s grandson, Jensen. He thinks it is best to sell the vineyard and facilitate Betsy moving into an assisted living situation.
Lottie is quick to begin to turn things around at the winery and she would like to keep the property in the Butterworth family to honor the founder. She has only been engaged for six months and doesn’t know if she can convince Jensen to continue the business especially when he is on the brink of promotion in his business career. And that is how things stand when a new discovery rocks her world with a ripple effect that will impact everyone in the story.
I am not usually a big fan of relationship drama but this story leans to humor and is simply charming, interesting and engaging. Lottie is a wonderfully real character with strengths that outweigh her insecurities. I loved how her personal journey developed and I enjoyed the support she received from the quirky, passionate characters around the vineyard. Jensen is also a lovely character and their relationship conflict bounces between struggle and joy.
The setting and winery experience is a great element. I enjoyed learning about viticulture and its growth in Britain as well as some of the details and difficulties of the process of making wine. There is good movement in the story and light humor that helps with the enjoyment. I recommend this to readers who would enjoy a relationship story that will bring sighs and smiles. I will have to look for other romances by Ms. Bramley.
Source: 2019 NetGalley. This qualifies for 2019NetGalley goal.