on 4 June 2010
This is a variation on 'Summer in Tuscany' and is, I think, better. It has all the ingredients of a beach read or for winter evenings. Either way, its setting is idyllic, most of the characters are endearing, and money seems to be no object although previous hardships are mentioned. The story is a new slant on an old premise: a Grandmother, longing to see her far-flung relations together under her roof, invites them to stay at her very successful winery in France. Obviously, for this kind of novel to work its cast members have to be disparate and here Elisabeth Adler really delivers. There's a handsome Aussie, an equally attractive American, a French cafe owner, a lady vetenarian and her new best friend, warring brothers, and a small but significant Chinese mystery to be solved. Throw in a log cabin back home in the States and an endearing dog plus a touch of the nasties now and again, lots of detailed descriptions and an intriguing puzzle woven throughout, and the result is a delightful read to while away the hours.