Friday, 29 August 2014

The Vineyard - Karen Aldous

About the book...
It’s been five years, and Lizzie Lambert has decided it’s time to try to make things right with her estranged mother. She’s made a success of things in Cannes, she’s bringing up a lovely little boy on her own, and she’s ready to put the past behind her.

But it seems Lizzie’s mother has moved on as well. She’s moved her toy boy – a muscle-bound vintner named Cal – into the family home, and given him the run of the land that was meant to be Lizzie’s inheritance!
Cal’s wine business frequently takes him to France, and suddenly wherever Lizzie goes, he’s already there – meddling, giving unsolicited advice, saving her little boy’s life and stealing her heart. But none of this changes the fact that he’s her mother’s lover…

Praise for Karen Aldous
' must read this wonderful debut from Karen, absolutely great.' - Cometbabesbooks
'Not since Peter Mayle has anyone captured the essence of Provence and Karen Aldous does it vividly. Settle back with a glass of wine and experience the Vineyard for yourself.' - Elder Park Book Reviews
'A delightful romantic comedy that tales place amidst the beauty of France, with plenty of wine and laughter.' - cayocosta72
BUY THE BOOK: Amazon Nook / koboSainsburys / iBookstore 

About the author...
Karen Aldous enjoys village life on the edge of the north-downs in Kent with easy access to the buzz of London. Not only does she love the passive pleasures of reading and writing, she also craves the more active pursuits with her family and friends such as walking, cycling and skiing especially when they involve food and wine!

Karen gets much of her inspiration from her travels and if she had to choose, France, Greece, Switzerland and Italy would be her favourite. However, wherever she goes, she discovers a new character emerges in 'Karen's World'. She likes to write about strong independent women who can direct their own lives - but struggle to control them! And, of course there's always a gorgeous hunk or two!

My thoughts...
I was given an ecopy of this book in exchange for an honest review  as part of a blog tour organised by Shaz Goodwin at Fiction Addiction.  I am more than happy to do so as I loved everything about this book.  From the moment I saw the cover and read the blurb I knew I wanted to read The Vineyard. 

The best kind of book for me is one that digs beneath the surface.  Karen has done this with panache.  It is a book about relationships, misunderstandings, communication, trust and friendship, with a modicum of romance for good measure.

For reasons at first unknown to the reader the main character Lizzie has been estranged from her mother for over five years.  Deciding it was time to clear the air and make amends she heads home to England, having settled in Cannes after leaving university.

Things don't go quite to plan, the situation not helped when Lizzie discovers her beloved grandfather had passed away and her mother had rented her inheritance of some land to what appears to be her 'toy boy' Cal.  Despite her unhappiness at the situation Lizzie can't help but acknowledge the attraction that appears to be mutual between herself and Cal.

Fleeing back to France with no intention of ever seeing her mother again seemed a bit rash and as I discovered the more I read, both Lizzie and her mother were hiding secrets.  Both were as guilty as each other of hiding behind a mask and seeing the situation only from their point of view.  Cal, unintentionally at first, becomes the go between, trying to bring the two women together again.

But, just like in real life events unfold and both women are thrown a few curve balls prompting some truthful but painful conversations.  The emotions run high and as a reader I wasn't quite sure which way things would go.  The old saying 'blood is thicker than water' is true but it is also good to have friends watching your back too. This book displays so well how lack of communication and trust can cause problems to escalate.  Often situations are multi faceted and you've got to be able to see things from many angles to truly understand.

Karen's descriptive ability is amazing, creating virtual images that were so vivid I could clearly see myself walking through the vineyard, smelling and tasting the wine on the farm. Just as clearly I was transported to Cannes seeing the sun glint off the ocean whilst the heat warmed my skin.  The two very different locations acted like ying and yang.  England being calmer, with deeper emotions on display, whereas in Cannes the heat definitely had an effect. Tempers were shorter and everything felt more volatile and faster paced.

For a debut novel this was did what it said on the tin - providing escapism with more than a touch of reality.  I'd advise everyone to grab a glass of wine and settle down for a journey that is highly emotional but will leave you sighing contentedly.  I for one cannot wait to see what Karen delivers next.

I gave this book 5 / 5 stars


  1. Fabulous review Dawn. So glad you enjoyed The Vineyard.

    Thank you for supporting Karen on tour.


  2. Thank you so much for taking the time to review The Vineyard Dawn and, hosting your amazing review, it is really touching and heartfelt! So very pleased you enjoyed it!