Grape Expectations by Caro Feely is a true story about how the author and her husband, Sean, moved to Saussignac in the Dordogne to follow their dream of becoming winemakers. But the adventure wasn’t all plain sailing and not what they expected. As the couple deal with setback after setback, from accidents with machinery to mouse droppings in the baby’s bed, their relationship falters and the dream is at risk of being shelved.

In my opinion, the title of this book is very clever and there’s a clear structure that follows each stage of the transformation from high-flying city life to life in rural France. The chapters have quirky titles and are not too long so, for me, this kept the pace going and made it easy to read. Neither is the book itself too long.

Caro has a chatty style of writing which engages the reader right from the start. Her personal account of the difficulties that they had to overcome and that tested their relationship to the limits made it very endearing. I quickly felt myself starting to care and wanted her and her family to succeed.

Other local characters are introduced into the story and, living in rural France myself, I really enjoyed how the author captured the “Frenchness” of the characters and the way of life.

I learnt a lot about the wine-making process from reading Grape Expectations and I really appreciated Caro’s passion for living an organic life as much as possible. It rubbed off on me.

I must admit that I shed a little tear towards the end of the story but will not give any more away. But at the end I felt happy for the family and look forward to reading the next book in the series.

The only time when I get to read is normally at bed time when I am tired or on holiday. For this reason, I like books that are interesting but not too taxing. So, for me, Grape Expectations was perfect.

Grape Expectations is written in English.

You might also be interested in…

Art & Vin Saussignac