In Sheehan’s debut romance, a young woman walks away from her ordinary life to pursue her passion for wine—and perhaps find love along the way.
Samantha “Sam” Goodyear is a 25-year-old accountant in New York City whose boss constantly undervalues her hard work. A die-hard oenophile, she often turns to her beloved local wine store for comfort. One night, the store’s owner introduces her to Henri LeMont of the prestigious LeMont vineyard in France’s Beaujolais winemaking region. He offers her a seasonal harvest job, and Sam, further disenchanted with New York after her father moves into her apartment with his 20-something girlfriend, decides to go learn the winemaking trade. In France, she gets a rigorous education, has encounters with quirky Frenchmen, and has a love affair. But after she discovers that her new man may be cheating on her, she returns to the United States heartbroken. She then moves to Napa, California, and sets out to make complex Beaujolais-style wines in a market dominated by trendy, sugary American tastes. Although she’s operating on a shoestring budget, she benefits from her grit, passion, and cadeu—an instinctual sensory understanding of viticulture. Readers will receive an extensive but enjoyable education on winemaking as Sam learns and works. The characterization is very light, and most readers will recognize Sam and other characters as types from any number of romantic comedies (the Prince Charming, the evil seductress, and so on). But the author’s and, by extension, Sam’s genuine knowledge about and love of wine give the novel depth. Sam’s endeavors in Napa are charged not only by her recent heartbreak—and her ongoing romantic and professional entanglements in America—but also by her commitment to making something that both respects old traditions and is a product of her own passion. Indeed, the emphasis on Sam’s dreams lends the book an admirably feminist bent. The text has occasional typos and sometimes hews a little too closely to rom-com tropes, but the book’s juicy, deft plotting makes these minor complaints about a lovable book.
A highly enjoyable story of love, wine, and passion.