by Diana Dempsey

August 2004
ISBN: 0-451-41146-3
Reviewer Graphic Button Onyx
Mass Market Paperback

Gabby Deluca has just moved back to the winery in Napa Valley where she was raised. She has returned from Italy where she apprenticed with a broken heart. It doesnít help matters when she finds out the winery is going to be handed over to Max, the ownerís son. Max is irresponsible and tends to get in over his head rather quickly. When her father has a heart attack at Maxís welcome home party, Gabby becomes determined to single-handedly try to save the winery.

Will Henley works for a multi-million dollar corporation. They make it a practice to acquire mediocre businesses and turn a profit on them. Sent to Napa to scope out territories, Will has his heart set on Suncrest, Gabbyís winery. As he takes the steps he needs to acquire the winery and hold on to his job, will he lose his heart to Gabby in the process?

I must admit that this book took a bit to get into. Lush with details of winery and scenery, but short on action. Several times I wanted to quit reading just because it was very difficult to maintain my interest with such a lack of action and conflict. However, somewhere between the half and three quarter point the book began to pick up and hold my interest and I was left feeling it was a satisfying, if not particularly memorable, read.

Due to the lack of action, the reader really finds herself inside the characters. This gives a depth to them that is sometimes lacking. Yet, Iím still questioning a few of them as youíre not given a crystal clear vision of what they are about. Such as Max and his mother. At times, she comes across as the caring, respected mother figure and other times she becomes shallow, self obsessed, distant, and even cold towards Max and the winery. When outside of Maxís viewpoint you see him as cold-hearted and dangerous to females, he becomes just a rich, spoiled, if not too bright, kid. Itís hard to like him with any passion in either case, yet you experience some likeable emotions for him at other times.

This is a book that is likely to make you change your mind about each person at least once. Gabby herself makes some huge errors in judgment that Iím not sure sheís ever fully aware of. Does the reader grow to like them? Each in their own way. The villain even finds some part of you hoping for the best. To sum up this story would be to say, itís more of an emotional rollercoaster for the reader as your feelings can change with every page you turn.

Reviewed in September 2004 by Katy.

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