The Lost Vintage, by Ann Mah
31/30 | Started 07.05.22 • Finished 07.19.22 | 3.5 stars
I'm not usually a fan of books that flip flop between the past and the present day. Could be because all of the past events were relayed to the reader by journal entries that it didn't bother me as much this time. I did mind that there were a few details revealed by the past before it had been discovered by the characters in the present.
Oh, if only I was warm, I could bear the hunger. If only I was full, I could bear the cold.
Kate is a wine expert from California on a trip to see her wine-making cousin Nico and his wife, Heather, in the Burgundy region of France. She goes to take part in the vendages, or the harvest of the grapes, to help her cousin-in-law Heather around the house, and to escape from the pressure of her upcoming Master of Wine examination. She and Heather tackle the long-delayed project of cleaning out the cellar in the domaine, or main house.
And I wonder if this war could actually be a form of alchemy—changing us, testing us, until each of us has revealed the truest part of our souls.
Enter Helene and her journal, through which we begin to discover the history of Kate's family in relation to the occupation of France during World War II. It's a compelling story, one of a loyal young girl with tenacity and conviction who is accused of being a collaborator while actually being part of the resistance movement.
They claimed to be cleansing the filth from our society. But what they really wanted was to scrub the guilt from their own souls.
There's also a love story involving Kate and a man named Jean-Luc woven throughout, which really just made me shrug. Otherwise this book was quite enjoyable and one I would recommend to those who fancy historical fiction or food literature.
I hope that you will think of me sometimes—and if you do, remember this: What we fought for were the justice and compassion that define civilization.