For decades, the lush vineyards and majestic manor house of the Hollander Estates winery made it the North Fork of Long Island’s premier destination for lavish parties and romantic day trips. Now the Hollander family fortunes have suffered, and as matriarch Vivian Hollander prepares for the arrival of her daughter and granddaughter for their annual summer reunion, she fears it might be their last. Worse, selling the family legacy to strangers might expose the dark secret she’s harbored for thirty-five years….
Visits to the winery have been bittersweet for Leah Hollander Bailey ever since her father refused to let her take her place in the family business. Now a successful Manhattan shop owner, Leah loves the life she’s built with her husband and daughter–but with her store, and her marriage, at a crossroads, she can’t help but view this year’s pilgrimage home as a sorely needed escape.
College senior Sadie Bailey has a thesis to write, and the towering shelves of the manor’s library offer endless academic inspiration. But when Sadie discovers evidence that her proper Grandma Vivian once ran a book club dedicated to the scandalous women’s novels of decades past, the shockingly outrageous tomes give her new insight into her family’s glory days.
Resurrecting the trashy book club begins as the distraction all three women need. But as they battle to save their birthright and heal old wounds, they just might find that the pages contain everything they need to know about how to fight for what they want–and for the life, and love, they deserve.
Synopsis source: Goodreads
To be honest, I didn’t know what I was getting into with this book. I love a good vineyard setting and books with strong female characters, though, so even though I’d never heard of this author, I wanted to give this a try. Plus, it has a 3.78 rating on Goodreads, which is decent in my opinion. Also, I was looking for an audiobook to listen to and this one was available on Libby.
This book, which I chose thinking it would be an easy, light-hearted read ended up surprising me. I loved the way all three generations of women were presented because it allowed me to really relate with all of them and I thought it was fascinating to listen to each generation’s take on the books they were reading. I loved how well the author showed that the way we feel about books is completely subjective and is heavily influenced by the culture of the time in which they are written and in which they are read, the phase of life one is at, and, if re-reading a book, the life experience gained between readings.
Additionally, I loved seeing the very real struggle women deal with when fighting sexism in their own lives. It’s easy when the person with sexist behavior and thinking is a stranger, but when it is someone you love and care for and whom you know loves and cares for you, well…that’s a bit more complicated, isn’t it? I loved watching each of these women contend with this in their own lives and overcoming it in a way that showed growth in themselves and in the men they love.
Deserving of honorable mention, because these things were great but not the focus, were the setting and audio narration. The imagery used was able to bring this beautiful estate vineyard to life in my mind’s eye. The story came to life with Julia Whelan’s narration, who manages to voice different characters with distinction and ease.
This story is a thoughtful and nuanced look at modern feminism and its struggles with a dash of wine and trashy novels thrown in. If you like multi-generational stories, strong female characters and books about books, give this one a go.
Until next time,
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