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The Lost Vintage

The Lost Vintage

Geschrieben von Ann Mah

Erzählt von Saskia Maarleveld


The Lost Vintage

Geschrieben von Ann Mah

Erzählt von Saskia Maarleveld

Bewertungen:
4.5/5 (84 Bewertungen)
Länge:
11 Stunden
Herausgeber:
Freigegeben:
Jun 19, 2018
ISBN:
9780062849281
Format:
Hörbuch

Beschreibung

Sweetbitter meets The Nightingale in this pause-resisting novel about a woman who returns to her family's ancestral vineyard in Burgundy and unexpectedly uncovers a lost diary, an unknown relative, and a secret her family has been keeping since World War II.

To become one of only a few hundred certified wine experts in the world, Kate must pass the notoriously difficult Master of Wine examination. She's failed twice before; her third attempt will be her last chance. Suddenly finding herself without a job and with the test a few months away, she travels to Burgundy to spend the fall at the vineyard estate that has belonged to her family for generations. There she can bolster her shaky knowledge of Burgundian vintages and reconnect with her cousin Nico and his wife, Heather, who now oversee day-to-day management of the grapes. The one person Kate hopes to avoid is Jean-Luc, a talented young winemaker and her first love.

At the vineyard house, Kate is eager to help her cousin clean out the enormous basement that is filled with generations of discarded and forgotten belongings. Deep inside the cellar, behind a large armoire, she discovers a hidden room containing a cot, some Resistance pamphlets, and an enormous cache of valuable wine. Piqued by the secret space, Kate begins to dig into her family's history—a search that takes her back to the dark days of World War II and introduces her to a relative she never knew existed, a great–half aunt who was a teenager during the Nazi occupation.

As she learns more about her family, the line between resistance and collaboration blurs, driving Kate to find the answers to two crucial questions: Who, exactly, did her family aid during the difficult years of the war? And what happened to six valuable bottles of wine that seem to be missing from the cellar's collection?

Herausgeber:
Freigegeben:
Jun 19, 2018
ISBN:
9780062849281
Format:
Hörbuch

Über den Autor

Ann Mah is a food and travel writer based in Paris and Washington DC. She is the author of the food memoir Mastering the Art of French Eating, and a novel, Kitchen Chinese. She regularly contributes to the New York Times’ Travel section and she has written for Condé Nast Traveler, Vogue.com, BonAppetit.com, Washingtonian magazine, and other media outlets.


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4.4
84 Bewertungen / 20 Rezensionen
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  • (5/5)
    Great travel and foodie novel. So pointed and lovely in the description of viticulture.
  • (4/5)
    It’s my first audio book and I enjoyed it. Margo
  • (5/5)
    Simply Wonderful. Will make you want to savor White Burgundy
  • (5/5)
    This book is very well written and the characters are very well developed. The story is captivating and holds its own. I very much enjoyed it and would recommend it highly!
  • (4/5)
    LOVED IT! I did have a problem early on with all the French language - as I don't speak it at all... but the story was excellent.
  • (3/5)
    In a reading funk, had a lot going on this year that interfered with my concentration and stamina to finish a book. But this story caught my interest and I even finished it° yay me. First finished book in monthsLove France, love Paris, love the background for novels and story line. This book did not fail expectations and was surprised at how engaged I was with story line. We all dream ream of finding hidden treasure and life's mysteries add to the charm of this quirky story.
  • (5/5)
    “I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about responsibility and what one generation owes to the next.” (Citation page 151)

    Content:
    In September 2015 Kate, an ambitious sommelier living in San Francisco, returns to Meursault, Burgundy, where her family since generations owns a vineyard, famous for its wines. Years ago, she had left Burgundy and her fiancé Jean-Luc. Now she needs to freshen up her knowledge about Burgundy vintages, to pass the blind testing of the extremely difficult Master of Wine exam.
    She stays in the old family landhouse and vineyard, now managed by her cousin Nico who is married to her best friend Heather. When she helps Heather to clean out the large, deep cellar, she discovers a hidden room, the traces leading back to WWII. Who was Hélène, a family member never mentioned? Should they reveal hidden family secrets?

    Theme and Genre:
    This novel is about family, generations, friendship, love and about the passion of viniculture, Burgundy and French living style.
    An important theme is the Second World War, the occupied France, Nazis and resistance and how people tried to survive and in the same time follow their conscience. There are family secrets, still hidden and never spoken about.

    Plot and writing:
    The story is told in two different timelines; both are chronological. They are interwoven and told alternately. There is the first story, told by Kate in the first person and set in modern France 2015. The second story is the diary of Hélène, written between 1939 and 1944. The headlines show the dates, so it is easy to follow the story.
    Ann Mah has found the perfect balance between the French scenery of modern, but still traditional winemaking, framing a story about friendship and love, and the gripping story of the French Résistance, courageous people risking their lifes.
    The author gives us wonderful descriptions about wine and Burgundy and shows a deep understanding of feelings and human character.

    Conclusion:
    This admirably written novel about the violence of war and memoirs between generations of family members is both, a story of love and friendship in the beautiful scenery of a Burgundian vineyard and a gripping, breathtaking story about life in occupied France. A perfect page-turner to lose yourself.
  • (4/5)
    Wines and France are pretty much synonymous. Many of the categories of wine that we Americans use generically are named for specific regions in France and experts would not be so sloppy as to refer to a wine not from that region by that name. In fact, there's a lot that experts know that the general wine drinking population doesn't know and there are rigorous and exacting tests to pass for those wanting the prestige of an official designation and the job opportunities that recognition opens up. The main character in Ann Mah's novel The Lost Vintage has a long history connected to wine and needs to take that final step and earn the impossibly difficult Master of Wine.Kate is a sommelier in California and she's studying for her last chance at passing the Master of Wine test. Her biggest weakness, the blind spot on her previous two failed tests, is French white wines. Determined to finally pass this important test, Kate, whose mother is French, returns to the family vineyard in Burgundy to really focus. As she reconnects with her best friend Heather, now married to Kate's cousin Nico, she slides into life at the domaine easily, despite her lingering discomfort over how her own relationship with family friend Jean-Luc ended a decade ago. Kate helps with les vendages and also tackles the overwhelming clutter in the old farmhouse basement with Heather. As the women clear out decades of both junk and keepsakes, Kate uncovers an old suitcase filled with clothes and a family picture with an unknown young woman in it. Drawn to the woman in the photograph, Kate slowly uncovers more about who she is and just exactly why Kate's Uncle Philippe wants her digging into the past to stop.The story is told in two narrative arcs, one of Kate in the modern day and one through the teenaged Helene's WWII diary. Although Kate is studying for the Master of Wine certification, this is only tangentially a novel about wine. It is far more about secrets, the shame of the past, the weight of history, truth, family, and what the future owes to the past. What Kate and Heather discover leaves them with very complicated feelings about the family legacy and upends their present. Do they maintain the stoic silence of previous generations or do they allow everything to come to light, the good and the terrible both? In a small way, Heather and Nico's desire to turn the farmhouse into a bed and breakfast over Uncle Philippe's vehement unwillingness mirrors the question of what to do with their newfound knowledge. Helene's diary isn't the only thing that Kate uncovers in the basement though. Her startling discovery is accidental but there are others knowingly looking for this hidden room and its valuable contents, adding some outside tension to Kate's inner turmoil. This piece was far weaker than the much more compelling plot lines of Kate's reckoning with family ghosts and Helene's life during and immediately after the war. In fact, this third plot line faded in and out of the story without really adding much to it. But the other two story lines were quite compelling. Kate is a character the reader will sympathize with. Her past (and present) relationship with Jean-Luc might be frustrating (and sometimes a bit thin) but her dogged interest in the hidden past of her family is completely relatable. Helene is fascinating and her diary is a good chance for Mah to describe the realities of the war, the Resistance, and collaborators in ways that Kate (and potentially the readers as well) wouldn't necessarily have learned. As the diary entries continue alongside Kate's suppositions from Heather's and her other research, the reader wonders when she'll find this primary source and how that will change her reckoning. A fast and engrossing read, this is a satisfying family drama, a small window into the life of a vintner, and an enjoyable historical fiction offering an inside view of Vichy France and the continued repercussions of the Nazi Occupation.
  • (3/5)
    Kate is following in the steps of her French wine-producing family by studying to become a Master of Wine. She visits the family domaine in Burgundy to help with the harvest and improve her knowledge, and stirs up all kinds of stuff from the past. First, there’s her relationship with friend of the family Jean-Luc, which ended suddenly after her study abroad ten years earlier. Then, while cleaning out the cellar with her cousin’s wife Heather, they discover artifacts from the past and learn about a heretofore unknown family member, Helene. For the remainder of the novel, Kate seeks the truth about Helene, while also trying to get her own life together. Kate’s chapters alternate with excerpts from Helene’s supposed diary, which didn’t sound like the musings of an 18-year-old and included long passages of dialogue (in a diary? really?). Of course the ending resolved Kate’s conflict, but it also included some implausible elements.This is the stuff vacation reads are made of and on that level, it’s acceptable. But it’s not a great novel. There’s too much thrashing about, as Kate waffles between life in California and life in France. A couple of obvious baddies arrive on the scene to thwart her efforts. Significant plot developments happen very suddenly, in ways that don’t seem to fit with the way characters have developed so far. I only gave it 3 stars on its merits as an easy, mindless read. If you’re looking for something meatier, I can’t recommend it.
  • (4/5)
    Moving between contemporary and WWII-era France, this novel explores a family legacy that is uncovered when two cousins finally decide to clean out the cellar at the family home. They discover a secret room and a large stash of wine dating back to the 1940s. As they learn more about their own family's past, each must grapple with their own feelings about the past. Overall, I enjoyed this book and appreciated the complicated view of the past it presented.
  • (4/5)
    Great historical fiction, setting is WWII and the present in California and the Burgundy area in France.
  • (5/5)
    This is the first book that I've read by Ann Mah and it definitely won't be the last. This was a fantastic well written novel that takes place in France with a dual time line of present day and the 1940s during WWII. It had mystery, romance and took place in France - what can be better than that?Usually when books are written with dual time lines, I like one story better than the other. In The Lost Vintage, I found both story lines interesting and intriguing. Helene's time starts pre-WWII when she was a young girl trying to get a place at the university so she could continue her studies. When the Nazis invade, her plans for education are ended and she stays home to help the family. As time goes on, she becomes involved with the Resistance much to the dismay of her step mother. The present day time line is about Kate, who is studying to become one of only a few hundred certified wine experts in the world. When she goes to France to help her cousins with the wine harvest, she agrees to help clean out the basement. There she finds clues about her Aunt Helene who was never talked about within the family. As she digs deeper into Helene's story, more mysteries are uncovered and the big question becomes whether Helene was part of the Resistance or a collaborator with the Nazis.This was a wonderfully well written book and the author did a suburb job of combining historical information along with the story line. I learned a lot about what life was like for people in France during the war, about how the women collaborators were treated at the end of the war and lots about wine. i highly recommend this wonderful novel.Thanks to the publisher for a copy of this book to read and review. All opinions are my own.
  • (4/5)
    "And suddenly I knew- as sure as the laws of chemistry- that remaining passive is no longer prudence. It has become cowardice."Kate is attempting to pass the demanding Master of Wine examination in order to move up in her career in California. When the restaurant she works for closes suddenly, she takes her mentor's advice to return to the land of her roots- and her family's vineyard in Burgundy to brush up on her French wines. While staying with her brother and sister-in-law, Kate once again comes in contact with neighbor and once fiancee, Jean-Luc. To clear her mind, Kate agrees to help clean out the family cave or basement. While sifting through a hefty amount of junk Kate finds many items from an unknown family member, Helene Marie Charpin. Kate is rebuffed by her Uncle when she asks about Helene. However, a trip to the library gives a clue about the family secret, Helene was prosecuted as a collaborator during WWII. This sends Kate and sister-in-law Heather on a hunt to uncover the truth. While digging, they also uncover a secret cave, untouched since the war and filled with priceless vintage wines.A family secret, a historical mystery and a romance round out The Lost Vintage. This story has many notes that were brought together like a fine wine. I was drawn in by the beauty of France, the descriptions of the vineyards, grapes, wines and traditions. Then I was intrigued by Kate's broken romance with Jean-Luc. Then the historical mystery found me and I was captivated by Helene and her long lost journal. Lastly, the suspense of tracking down the missing wine pulled me in even further. The point of view switched between Kate and Helene's journal, I am a sucker for dual-time stories, so this suited me perfectly. The plot did pick up for me when Helene's mystery was introduced. I enjoyed learning more about the French resistance as well as the 'horizontal collaborators' and their fate. Helene's story made me think about our choices for survival, making this a relevant story for many people during the present. I was pleased to find out that Helene's story was inspired by Resistor, Agnes Humbert, who I will be looking farther into. Overall, an intricate story that mixes past with present, romance and mystery for a delectable read.This book was received for free in return for an honest review.
  • (4/5)
    History came alive with suspenseful present. I listened to the book, and reader was great
  • (1/5)
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  • (5/5)

    1 Person fand dies hilfreich

    Fabulous in every way- beautiful writing, thought provoking story and a wonderful reader too . Thank you

    1 Person fand dies hilfreich

  • (5/5)

    1 Person fand dies hilfreich

    The setting was described perfectly. I could practically taste the food and wine as I read. And I learned a few things from the WW2 storyline that I didn’t know before. Narration was wonderful. I loved the pronunciation of the French names and places littered throughout the story.

    1 Person fand dies hilfreich

  • (5/5)

    1 Person fand dies hilfreich

    Excellent book. Interesting to read about WW II written by a Chinese woman. Romantic relationships are not her strong suite but she knows about families.

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  • (5/5)

    1 Person fand dies hilfreich

    Often when I read books with dual timelines, one story is much more interesting to me than the other. Not so in the case of Ann Mah's novel, The Lost Vintage. Kate is a sommelier living in San Francisco preparing to take the Test- an extremely difficult exam to be become a Master of Wine. She knows most of the wines that will be on the test, but she is weak in the area of French Burgundy, which is ironic since her family has owned a vineyard in the Burgundy region for generations.She decides to go visit her cousin Nico and his wife Heather, where they run the run the family vineyard with her Uncle Philippe. Kate's mom left France years ago and has little to do with her family, something that bothers Kate as she does not know the reason why.Heather and Kate take on the task of cleaning out the huge basement, filled with so much stuff it looks like an episode of Hoarders. While cleaning it out, Kate discovers that there is a hidden cellar filled with hundreds of bottles of wine hidden during the German occupation in WWII.She also discovers that she had a great-aunt whom no one talked about- Helene. Uncle Philippe is tight-lipped about Helene, and doesn't want Kate and Heather asking any more questions about Helene or WWII.Kate and Heather discover that Helene was accused of being a "horizontal collaborator", a woman who had sex with the German occupiers in exchange for better treatment by the soldiers. Helene was assaulted and shunned by the townspeople, and she died shortly after the war ended.This information devastated Kate and Heather. Kate was ashamed that her relative could have done the things they accused her of. They look for Helene's journal to find out why she did what she did.The reader has access to Helene's journal, and we see her beginnings as a young woman, interested in becoming a scientist before the war dashes her dreams. She and her father hide English soldiers and Jewish families in their hidden cellar, and Helene works for the Resistance. How does she end up a collaborator?The Lost Vintage is a wonderfully written novel, and fans of The Nightingale and The Women In The Castle, will find this story just as interesting. Mah weaves these stories together seamlessly, and the tension as Helene works to help the Resistance and Kate searches for a missing bottle of a vintage wine that could save her family's vineyard from financial ruin ratchets up page by page. (And both stories are equally intriguing.)My husband and I recently visited some old vineyards in the Chianti region of Italy, so I was endlessly fascinated by Mah's vivid descriptions of life as a wine maker. Her descriptions of the delicious meals eaten by Kate's family is heaven for people like me who enjoy "foodie fiction". (And I could live forever on what Nico calls "the three c's for dinner- charcuterie, cheese and crudites", with wine of course.)If you enjoy traveling to another place in your books, reading The Lost Vintage will send you to the Burgundy region of France without ever leaving your home. I highly recommend it.

    1 Person fand dies hilfreich

  • (3/5)
    It's another American book where Americans portray Europeans somewhat backward... Funny that Europeans have similar images of Americans XD