My rating: 3 of 5 stars
This one is a library find that I really wanted to like as I like mysteries and I like wine and the whole production side of it. I hadn't read the first book but that didn't matter much in terms of understanding the characters. I didn't like this as nearly as much as would have liked to because Lucie (the point of view character) and her wine making partner, Quinn come across as rather stubborn and abrasive, neither of which is endearing to me. Also the romance didn't work for me (I found it more distracting than anything) and I didn't like the ending at all.
Still, I liked enough of it that I'd probably go to the library to find another in the series. It opens with Lucie and Quinn battling a late frost that will destroy their grapes and blaming each other for the position they're in (and doing it so petulantly as they do almost every talk about the winery you want to slap them). Lucie wants to cleave a little too tightly to the ways of the past and Quinn wants to chuck the past in the bucket and move on. Also one of the things they did in the winery was to use a dangerous chemical which was left out against regs which is used to kill Georgia Greenwood who is a politician who would work to shut down local wineries (she was at the winery for some sort of party), giving Lucie motive to kill her. She's also the philandering wife of the doctor who saved Lucie's life (She was in a major car accident that left her with a disabled foot).
Naturally Lucie wants to prove neither she, Quinn nor Ross, Georgia's husband murdered Georgia and sets out to find the killer. To make matters worse, Ross has found a letter about some Confederate general linking him to Lincoln's assassination which makes everyone including Lucie set against him. (Another way to make me dislike a character, her defense of people fighting hard to keep slavery alive. Yeah, that's me being a Northener I guess). Added to this is Ross's suave British friend who is setting up a winery right next to Lucie's, might be poaching Quinn from Lucie all the while romancing Lucie. And the topper is Lucie's teenaged sister who is hanging out with the bad kids developing a drinking problem.
It was a bit blatantly obvious where this mystery was going to end which made it all the more annoying because there weren't really good reasons for this particular character to be acting so nuts by the end. That's what really bothered me. Like I said I might read another but it would definitely be a 'from the library' read and not something I'd run out to buy.
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