Booklist Reviews

In France 1895, Sara Thibault becomes a murderer when she defends herself against her pregnant sister's abusive husband, forcing the sisters to flee to America to avoid incarceration and to start a new life. While moving her way up California's wine-making region, Sara meets her attacker's brother, a sharp and amiable vineyard owner. The romance that ensues is not a total surprise, but debut author Harnisch maintains natural and constant tension; both leading characters are rational and likable, which gets complicated when they conflict and when they consort. One of the novel's highlights is its rich history of the wine-making process through the eyes of a woman who is passionate and meticulous about each step. This read moves at a quicker clip as it progresses, especially as Sara gains confidence in overcoming obstacles. In the beginning, she endures nonstop pain and loss, but these tragedies transform her from a smart, hardworking girl into an independent, resourceful woman. At its core, The Vintner's Daughter is a story of perseverance and transcending one's past. Copyright 2014 Booklist Reviews.