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Broke the Grape's Joy [Paperback]

Patrick Hilyer
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
Price: 7.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Book Description

29 Mar 2012
English widow, Jean Valeix, is the owner of a fabulous vineyard in the French wine village of Saint-Emilion. But her cherished château is struggling to sell its produce. A handful of people - among them a charming middle-aged Scotsman, a jaw-droppingly beautiful girl and a talented autistic boy - will change her life completely. But not all her visitors are who they claim to be. All she needs to do is find out who's telling the truth, save her business from bankruptcy and solve a murder. Only then might she discover that sometimes even good things come in threes. Viticulture and poetry, mental health and mortality all tumble, along with the cabernets and merlots, into the fermenting vat of this dark but uplifting tale. "This is a book I wanted to finish and yet was enjoying the journey so much that I forced myself to ration the chapters to make it last longer. I just hope this is the first of many such books from this very talented writer with a mastery of bitter-sweet tales." - Peter F May, Bella Online

Product details

  • Paperback: 276 pages
  • Publisher: (29 Mar 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1781762074
  • ISBN-13: 978-1781762073
  • Product Dimensions: 20.3 x 12.7 x 1.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,162,878 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Patrick Hilyer, author of the award-winning wine travel guide French Vineyards, lives and works in France. He and his wife own a restaurant in Normandy.

In praise of French Vineyards...

"a wonderful book, full of information and enchantment" Heimburger's European Traveller

"a vicarious travel adventure" Jancis Robinson OBE, Master of Wine

"enticing and indispensable" Jonathan Ray, wines editor, Daily Telegraph

"recommendations from all the French wine regions" Jim Budd, independent wine journalist and chairman of The Circle of Wine Writers

In praise of Broke the Grape's Joy...

"a real page turner of a story full of teasing clues and cliff-hanging suspense...a triumph of a little book, immensely readable and with the added interest of its back-story for the wine buff. Highly recommended." Tom Cannavan, wine journalist

"What a delighful, heartwarming novel it is. I thoroughly enjoyed it." Peter May, Wines Editor, BellaOnline

"full-bodied, spicy with fascinating and fruity overtones." John Walker, Author of The Jagermeister's Apprentice

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I will have another bottle of this please! 5 Sep 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Set in Saint Emilion on the Fontloube vineyard this is the story of Jean Valeix, a widow who at the start of the book is struggling to maintain the vineyard that has been left to her following the deaths of her husband and father in law. Her life is changed when she meets and falls in love with Andrew - a delightful Scot running away from real life after his divorce. However, as with all good love stories, the going is not as smooth as expected.

There is a wonderful cast of people - including Aimee, the gorgeous apprentice she hires; Archie, the autistic son of Andrew and Wendy, a visitor to the area who soon becomes a firm friend. Not forgetting Turk the Jack Russell who becomes her loyal follower! Not all of the people in the book can be trusted however and Jean will soon find herself rocked to the core by a series of betrayals.

An extremely well written book which is highly addictive; a story so well written it seems to cross genres completely, being part travelogue, part love story, part thriller. The story unfolds very gently and on the surface is very light, almost like "A Year in Provence" type of read, but underneath there is always something sinister just bubbling away ready to explode. There are some very sad, moving moments in the book and also some very uplifting ones as well, together with a good dash of danger in the climax.

A very enjoyable read.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Set in Saint-Emilion 3 Aug 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I've camped a couple of times in Saint-Emilion so I was attracted to this book, and I enjoyed the references to that pretty village in the south of France.
It's about widow Jean, known as Jeanne who runs a winery inherited from her late husband and father-in-law. One day she finds Scotsman Andrew Maconie in his camper van on her land and her life changes. Soon the beautiful Aimée appears and things get complicated.
I'm not going to tell the story; it's a good one and I recommend you to read it. There's a lot of very high-class eating and drinking in it, too!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved this book 31 Aug 2012
By Shell
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This book I selected thinking it was going to be a really good thriller. It was so different from what I expected, but one thing I will say is that I couldn't put it down. I have travelled many times to this region of France, so knew the area quite well. I found the book a beautiful story with such a calming effect. On one hand I wanted to get it finished to see what happened, but on the other hand I didn't want it to finish. I felt that I was part of the story, that I was actually there while events happened. Loved it. Would recommend anyone to read it. Will certainly look for more books by this author
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A satisfying tale 13 Aug 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The story takes place in the French village of Saint-Emilion - the main protagonist, Jeanne Valeix, being a winemaker somewhat down on her luck. When Scotsman Andrew happens along, things seem to be coming together at last but then she employs a beautiful young girl and everything turns on its head.

There are so many facets to this story: love, intrigue, murder. As a backdrop to all of this, the author gives us a wonderful sense of place and a knowledgeable insight into viticulture and oenology. Sad at times and amusing at others, this is a satisfying tale with well-portrayed characters.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Broke the Grapes 2 Jan 2012
By Denise
Format:Kindle Edition
Thoroughly enjoyable read from start to finish - hard to put down!! Well researched regarding the technicailties of winemaking so even if you don't have much of an understanding of oenology it was simply explained. The story flowed effortlessly and captured the imagination. Some of the challenges faced by the characters were dealt with sympathetically. It was made even more enjoyable by the fact that I live in France and know all the places to which Patrick referred. Looking forward to the next fiction book!!!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Starts well 5 Aug 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
The story starts well but then runs out of steam. There then follows a lot of padding until the main theme is taken up again. But this reprise does not have the quality of the opening so that I was relieved to get to the end. Lots of flowery description of wine and food, which may fascinate some readers.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Could be real. 13 May 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Great characterisation with realistic story lines. Book clubs could enjoy this as there is much to discus and think about.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars For lovers of fine wine and suspense 25 Jan 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Jean Valeix's adult life has been marked by tragedy. At 43 she is the chatelaine of a minor St Emillion vineyard, mired in debt and struggling on alone. She then meets 50+ Andrew in his camper-van who claims he is a poet but turns out to be a dab hand at helping in the vineyard in return for allowing him to camp in the vineyard grounds.

Then Aimée appears of the blue. Aimée, ostensibly a student, who is taken on as part of a work placement programme. Jean's life has taken a turn for the better at last. She has fallen in love with Andrew, and has some good help with the vines. We hear about the life-cycle of wine-making - pruning and training the vines, weeding, tasting, mixing - as an ongoing theme of continuity as the turbulent lives of the main characters start causing havoc.

Jean is a determined woman however, and will not be cowed by betrayal, or not for long anyway. She has friends - the super chef Stéphane and his kind wife, Wendy the indomitable retired academic, two lads from her husband's family and Andrew's dog, Turk.

Despite the somewhat dark atmosphere of parts of this book, it is in fact a celebration of life and love, of fine wine and food, good friends, and the healing nature of hard work.

It's beautifully written, highly evocative, well-informed and researched. The descriptions of the vineyard and ageing chateau suggest a place of timelessness in which Jean is a temporary guardian. She understands this and is determined to maintain her place as a privilege in memory of her husband's family.

Highly recommended.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Looking forward to the next bottle
Bought this on a freebie a while ago. Not my usual cup of tea but a really enjoyable read. Made me want to jump in the car and head for the channel! Read more
Published 2 months ago by Paul Clarke
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars - A Very Good Read
This book attracted me because of the lovely title. I downloaded it as a free book but would happily have paid for it. Read more
Published 8 months ago by PollyM
5.0 out of 5 stars Very good read
A very absorbing read. Other reviewers have outlined the plot so I'll not repeat what they have written. A book probably suited to all types of reader and age groups.
Published 9 months ago by Mr. P. M. Sawyer
3.0 out of 5 stars not my glass of wine!
I got this book as a freebie a while back and have just got around to it -the strange title put me off a bit. Read more
Published 10 months ago by jac
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful
This book is beautifully written, it draws you in and you live it. It has a strange, beautiful voice, relaying events with absolute clarity but also distance - the voice of... Read more
Published 16 months ago by Mrs. S. Whitmore
5.0 out of 5 stars So good I had to write a review
I never write reviews, although I download lots of books for my iPad. I read to relax and have read a lot of terrible kindle books. This book was a revelation, it was wonderful. Read more
Published 16 months ago by Jayne
4.0 out of 5 stars What a pleasant surprise.
I bought this as a cheap under a pound book as I fancied the basic story. I was not disappointed lovely unusual plot with twists and turns. Read more
Published 16 months ago by Martin G
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent read
Like many others I couldn't put the Kindle down until I finished the story. An excellent read. I will definitely be getting his next book, a follow up I believe, which will be... Read more
Published 18 months ago by patsy
5.0 out of 5 stars Haven't finished it yet and I already love it
I've read more than half of the book and I totally love it! Beautifully constructed characters, real people with real feelings and failings. Read more
Published 18 months ago by Amazon Customer
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