Eight Hundred Grapes
A NoveleBook - 2015
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If ever a book was written to be turned into a movie, Eight Hundred Grapes is it. It’s got the setting (California’s Sonoma Valley), it’s got the subject (wine, appealing to the foodie in everyone), it’s got a runaway-bride heroine searching for herself (I see Rachel McAdams), a somewhat dysfunctional family, and both a hunky British suitor and an adorkable local match. And a few movie stars already in the mix. This is the next Under the Tuscan Sun, with slightly younger characters.
It starts when the runaway bride, Georgia, discovers an unfathomable secret about her fiancée, a week before their wedding and trans-Atlantic move to London. Shocked to the core, Georgia runs to the only place she can think of, her childhood home. But the shocks just keep coming – her brothers are feuding, her parents separated and the vineyard has been sold to a faceless corporation.
With her entire world upside-down, Georgia struggles to fix it, and makes things inevitably worse before they get better. Along the way the author takes readers back in time and into the lives of the other characters, drawing them with nearly as much depth. This makes it easy to see why Georgia cannot simply resolve everyone’s problems; everyone has their own private history, histories they have not necessarily shared with her completely.
And that is the way life is – complex, multi-layered, at times funny and at times cringeworthily messy. It all makes Eight Hundred Grapes a summery novel to savor (perhaps with a glass of California red).
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