World War 2? Champagne? France? An eccletic grandmother? Secrets? Choices? Redemption? Check out The Winemaker’s Wife by Kristen Harmel.

The Winemaker's Tale, a book by Kristin Harmel
Photo by Marianna Reep.
The Winemaker’s Tale, Kristin Harmel
Photo by Roger Reep.

Summary of The Winemaker’s Wife by Kristin Harmel

This historical fiction book is set in two distinct times: 2019 and World War 2 France. Through meticulous research, Kristin Harmel has crafted a world that explores the power behind champagne and redemption. Both in the present and in the past.

In 1941, the beginning of World War 2 is on the horizon. Ines and Michel, the owner of Maison Chauveau, run a champagne house next to Reimes France. But, as the war progresses, Ines, Michel, the head winemaker, Theo, and his wife Celine, grow increasingly distant. In the midst of this unhappiness, decisions are made. Some in the right. Some in the wrong. And some we can’t judge without being in their shoes.

In 2019, Liv signs divorce papers just in time for her grandmother, Edith, to whisk her away to France. But there is more than she is telling.

As their stories tangle in France, secrets are revealed. And lives are changed.

My Review of The Winemaker’s Wife by Kristin Harmel

Kristin Harmel crafts a world behind champagne.
Photo by Alexander Naglestad on Unsplash
Kristin Harmel crafts a world behind champagne in France.
Photo by Alexander Naglestad on Unsplash

I will admit. Ines made me mad at times. Celine and Theo made me mad. Michel made me mad. Edith made me laugh and cry.

But, in a time of war, connections are made quickly and destroyed quicker. Alliances are essential. And sometimes, one choice destroys everything.

I enjoyed the character arcs of The Winemaker’s Wife. Kristin Harmel created a world where each character’s role is different. No two citizens had the same purpose. From the germans to the resistance. Various kinds of French resistance are explored, as well as the post-war impact.

Though Kristin Harmel had me wanting to throw my book across the room at times, she shows the true power of redemption and forgiveness. The present storyline is interesting. Be waiting for how the stories overlap. But, more than that, be prepared for an ending you wouldn’t expect. At least I didn’t expect it.

The ending makes up for the middle. Keep reading. I promise, it is worth it.

Historical Relevance of The Winemaker’s Tale by Kristin Harmel

The Winemaker's Wife by Kristin Harmel
Photo from Amazon
The Winemaker’s Wife by Kristin Harmel
Photo from Amazon

In her novel, Kristin Harmel includes an authors note in The Winemaker’s Wife, including the true stories that represent this tale. Did you know the champagne region of France had a major influence in the French Resistance. Most used simple tactics, such as using dirty bottles for german bound bottles. Some hid jews in their cellars. A director of a champagne house was also a leader of the French Resistance.

Favorite Quote from The Winemaker’s Wife

Most of my favorite quotes from this novel came from Edith. But, the way Kristin Harmel crafts this one quote speaks to the impact the region had on World War 2.

This champagne represents history, my dear. Heroism. Bravery. The people behind these wines saved France.

The Winemaker’s Wife by Kristin Harmel, pg 207

In The Winemaker’s Tale, Kristin Harmel spins a beautiful tale of friendship, betrayal, and the weight of our choices.