Set among the vineyards in Southern France and Central California, Crush: A Tale of Two Vineyards by Joye Emmens is an enchanting novel that celebrates the resilience of human spirit and the blossoming of love.
Olivia found her calling in winemaking after spending summers in her grandparents’ vineyard in California, Clos de Harmonie. She eventually pursues a degree in Viticulture and Enology and decides to complete her Master’s degree project at a Frenchman’s biodynamic vineyard in France that has been tended to by his family for the last five generations. It’s love at first sight for Olivia and Luke, the Frenchman. As she spends her time in Luke’s family vineyard, she is constantly racked by the guilt that she is neglecting Clos de Harmonie.
A tragic turn of events leads Olivia to return to California. She decides to get Clos de Harmonie certified as a biodynamic vineyard. No one thinks she can do it. Can Olivia prove herself? Can she turn around a decrepit vineyard and not lose Luke in the process?
Meryl, a Vietnam war widow, feels forlorn as her son has moved to Japan, and her aged father has remarried. A WWII Japanese flag, the last message of its bearer scribbled on it in his blood dried long ago, falls into her hands. She wants to return the flag to the soldier’s family but is reluctant to step out of her world.
After a gentle nudge from a love-struck professor and a not-so-subtle push from her father and cousin, she sets out to return the flag to where it belongs—Japan. Along the way, she meets many people – all of whom help her in reaching her destination one step closer while also helping her find herself.
to my first author Q&A. I have been wanting to do them for quite some time
but couldn’t since I’m a big
procrastinator. Nevertheless, let’s dive into this feature.
I’m interviewing indie author Sacha T.Y. Fortuné. I liked her debut
contemporary romance novel, Climbing The
Walls, very much. Her characters and their struggles are still deeply
entrenched in my mind.
Please feel free to check out my review of Climbing The Wallshere.
Stella is a thirty-something, rich, single, autistic woman, and a data geek. She has the amazing superpower of crunching data to provide fascinating insights into customers’ buying behavior.
However, she hasn’t had any success in relationships.
She devises a brilliant idea. Why not practice with a professional who can teach her how to be a seductress. So, she hires Michael, a part Vietnamese, part Swedish male escort who can’t turn down Stella’s offer. Voila! A romance novel is born. Ahem! Love takes root.
The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang is a refreshingly unique take on the girl-meets-boy tale, making this more than just a superficial love story or erotica. Sure, there are titillating parts, but it also features a romance that tugs at your heartstrings. The story is remarkable and the execution phenomenal.
Recently, I watched two films, August Rush and Leap Year, and read a book, A Thousand Splendid Suns. While the films were good overall, the book was wonderful.
In A Thousand Splendid Suns, penned by Khaled Hosseini, the narrative seamlessly blends the stories of the two women protagonists, Mariam and Laila, against the backdrop of the Taliban invasion in Afghanistan.
In addition to a beautiful and heart-moving story, the writer has also employed rich prose to transport imagery to the readers, thereby, displaying his writing finesse. Hosseini has tremendously improved himself since his first book The Kite Runner. The book has definitely given me a new romantic pair to cheer – Laila and Tariq.
A Thousand Splendid Suns is as much “a story about a woman’s freedom from brutal and systematic oppression as it is about human endurance and courage to move on and start afresh.” It’s a story of hope.
As far as the films are concerned, I liked both of them, although when I checked the Internet, none of the films were appreciated by the critics. Carping is the profession of critics so, let’s leave them to that.
August Rush tells the story of a charismatic young Irish guitarist (Jonathan Rhys Meyers) and a sheltered young cellist (Keri Russell) who have a chance encounter one night (the most common trope in romantic movies, lol). However, they are soon estranged, leaving in their wake an infant, August Rush, orphaned by circumstance.
Cared for by a stranger (Robin Williams), August (Freddie Highmore) starts performing on the streets of New York and uses his impressive musical talent to find his parents.
August Rush is a story about a child prodigy in music and his attempts to find his lost parents. It was a simple story and proved to be a good source of relaxation. However, I do agree with the critics on one point- the movie ended abruptly and thus, left a jarring note.
Verdict: Fairy-tale ending. Watchable.
The other film Leap Year (2010) was a good romantic movie starring Amy Adams and Matthew Goode, two formidable acting talents. It had a sweet, simple, and a humorous story.
Anna (Adams) wants to propose to her long-time boyfriend Jeremy and decides to do it the traditional Irish way. So she takes a flight to Dublin, but due to inclement weather, the plane has to land at Cardiff, Wales.
From there, she boards a ramshackle boat to travel to Cork, yet her plans are thwarted once more and she has to land in Dingle.
There she meets a surly but a handsome (yeah, bring on another romance movie trope!) Innkeeper Declan (Goode) who agrees to take her to Dublin.
Voila, Declan and Anna, along with the audience, embark on a road trip and lo behold! What a transformation both of them undergo.
The transformation of both Anna and Declan has been convincingly portrayed by the lead actors. Further, the chemistry between them is undeniable and jumps right off the screen.
Verdict: Happy ending. Definitely watchable!
All in all, both the films were good for biding time.
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