Pub. Date: May 3, 2016
Source: trade paperback via publisher (Thank you, Simon & Schuster!)
Summary: Growing up on her family’s Sonoma vineyard, Georgia Ford learned some important secrets. The secret number of grapes it takes to make a bottle of wine: eight hundred. The secret ingredient in her mother’s lasagna: chocolate. The secret behind ending a fight: hold hands.
But just a week before her wedding, thirty-year-old Georgia discovers her beloved fiancé has been keeping a secret so explosive, it will change their lives forever.
Georgia does what she’s always done: she returns to the family vineyard, expecting the comfort of her long-married parents, and her brothers, and everything familiar. But it turns out her fiancé is not the only one who’s been keeping secrets…
Genre: Contemporary, Fiction
After running out of her final fitting, Georgia drives nine hours to her parents’ vineyard – still in her (now dirty) wedding dress. What her fiance revealed is so upsetting she refuses to speak a word of it to anyone and, to be quite honest, she isn’t all that sure she’ll be getting married in a week. What Georgia comes to discover, however, is that her fiance wasn’t the only one with a secret.
When Eight Hundred Grapes came out last year I heard some pretty good things some several friends and bloggers I trust. The soft cover recently dropped and a surprise arrival at my door had me very excited to dive in! I’m a total sucker for stories about deep, dark, family secrets and hoo boy this book had SEVERAL. Children, affairs, separations, financial struggle, I was actually a little impressed by just how much Laura Dave managed to pack inside these pages.
I can easily see Eight Hundred Grapes working as a Lifetime movie: small town charm, a beloved vineyard, a ton of drama. Naturally the mother of Ben’s child is a drop dead gorgeous actress. Their summer fling resulted in Maddie and now that Michelle is back in Ben’s life, well, she’s decided she’ll have him all to herself thank you very much. Obviously that doesn’t sit well with Georgia, although she does agree to invite Michelle to a party at the vineyard in an attempt to make nice. Georgia’s twin brothers, Bobby and Finn, are in love with the same woman: Bobby’s wife. Upon arriving home, Georgia discovers her parents have not only separated, but have also signed the papers to turn over the vineyard to a rival, one Georgia is convinced will run the entire operation into the ground.
What really got to me was how no one took a stand. There are all these problems going around and every single character is so wishy-washy and indecisive. Georgia, for example, never officially called off the wedding. She made an EXTREMELY rash decision without pausing to hear Ben’s explanation and refuses to answer his calls. Even when he shows up at the vineyard she doesn’t want to hear what he has to say. She simply avoids him, despite their wedding day quickly approaching.
Despite the characters’ inability to take control of their lives, I tore through Eight Hundred Grapes in no time – I’m sure the fact that’s it’s only 260 pages helped too! While this isn’t an eye-opening of life-changing novel, it was an engaging afternoon read and kept me invested the entire time. This is absolutely a book I’m sure has made (and will make) several beach appearances! It’s light and readable with just enough drama thrown in to keep readers engaged.