“Crush: A Tale of Two Vineyards” by Joye Emmens


Joye Emmens
Hard Rock Press (2019)
ISBN 9780990687634
Reviewed by Sheri Hoyte for Reader Views (7/19)

“Crush: A Tale of Two Vineyards” is an enchanting novel by Joye Emmens rich with wine, love, hard-work, and family. Set in Southern France and Central California, the vineyards create the perfect backdrop for a pleasant escape with a story that will leave you with a smile.

Olivia’s passion for winemaking was inspired through the summers she spent at her grandparent’s vineyard, Clos de l’Harmonie, in Central California. Once she finishes her master’s degree, she’ll return to the vineyard to run it. When her graduate adviser introduces her to fifth-generation vineyard owner and winemaker from France, Luke Laroche, there is an immediate connection between the two.  Luke invites Olivia to complete her internship at Domaine Laroche and their relationship intensifies, but Luke’s family, and fate, have other ideas, and sudden circumstances cause Olivia to return to California. Her focus redirected on Clos de l’Harmonie, Olivia meets challenge after challenge to secure certification as a biodynamic vineyard, but how will her long-distance relationship with Luke survive?

I enjoyed every single sentence of this book. Emmens is a wonderful storyteller, and her writing is fluid and fresh. She creates picturesque scenery as she weaves intricate details about the winemaking industry into the story with a flair that both engages the reader and creates a curiosity and eagerness to learn more. It’s obvious a substantial amount of research went into this project and I learned so much about the industry – all the labor, love and time involved – Emmens successfully spins all these elements into the story in a way that enriches the reading experience. Well done!

Another area where Emmens excels is with her characters! There are a number of them in the story and readers will get to know each one personally as they each have relevance and add dimension to the plot. Olivia is a strong, female protagonist to be appreciated for the way she handles herself and others, not backing down, but portraying confidence and determination in the face of adversity.  It was rewarding to watch Olivia grow in her interactions with others, such as the ones with her mother, not letting that relationship define who she was or hamper her dreams.

I highly recommend “Crush: A Tale of Two Vineyards” by Joye Emmens. With just the right mix of romance, drama and intrigue, it’s a perfect read for romance fans, wine connoisseurs, and anyone who enjoys a feel-good, refreshing story.

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