Napa Valley, 1863. Elizabeth Asheford chafes at the simple life of a vintner’s daughter in boring Napa Valley and sets her cap for Harvard bound Jake Duncan, thinking he’s her ticket out of town. Enter the older, but oh so charming Jean DeMille who sweeps her off her feet, but she still wants the high life and thinks she can convince her new husband to return to France. Fool her, Jean loves Napa and wants to create wines as great as those of his forebears and he works long hours, leaving a disgruntled and somewhat neglected Elizabeth pining for more. Jean is successful and builds Elizabeth a grand house in San Francisco at the top of Nob Hill and years later she meets up with spurned Jake Duncan and he’s hot to get his revenge – a revenge that has unforeseen consequences on the next generation.
The DeMilles’ sons, Peter and Marcus, are two very different men. Peter is self-centered and only concerned for money to drink and gamble, while Marcus is as devoted to the family winery as his father – although he fears he’ll never earn papa’s respect. When the great earthquake strikes in 1906, everyone’s lives are forever changed and set the two brothers on a path to destiny that only one can finish and treacherous Peter makes sure that destiny is in his favor. Or is it?
I love all things California and most especially love visiting Napa Valley (wish I could afford to go more often), so I snapped this up when I spotted it on my feeds at Goodreads. I did enjoy it, but Elizabeth was a bit too full of herself and it took too long before she saw the forest through the trees and appreciated her husband and family (although she did pay a big price for that selfishness). There was a bit too much telling instead of showing, but overall a fairly good read. I especially liked the name dropping of some of Napa Valley’s players and legends, from Robert Louis Stevenson at his *hideout* at the old Silverado mine to Charles Krug to Far Niente and the Schramsbergs themselves – that was a really cool bonus. All in all a fairly good solid read for a rainy afternoon, but I’d probably only recommend it for those who must read all things California and those interested in the early days of Napa Valley. A big boo-hiss to the editor for so many numerous typos left in the final edition. Isn’t that your job?FTC? A genuine Amazon Verified Purchase.