A family linked by wine and old rivalries sets out for new territory, during the turmoil of World War I. David and Gaspard are cousins, bonded by family and their allegiance to their winemaking heritage. Parting with tradition and moving their vineyards near Bordeaux threatens to upset the family peace, but that’s only the beginning of their trouble. Short on funds, they are forced to team with a wealthy but morally corrupt engineer—though perhaps at a cost too high for the cousins. Despite the odds, David and Gaspard succeed in making a successful wine, Clos-Marzacq. Along the way, they each fall in love, though not always in the best of circumstances. And now, to cement their successes, the cousins need to secure a stronghold on the Wharf of Chartrons, seen as the gateway to selling in England and America
I would never describe myself as an oenophile just a francophile, but I always seem to enjoy books that center around vineyards, winemaking and wine. Having had spent some time in the Bordeaux region I really enjoyed this book. I felt that I could identify with the content of the book.
The book was originally written in French. I must confess I am not a fan of translated books. I throughout that the translation was good and while there were a few occasions were the wording was a little odd it did not detract from the story line.
David and Gaspard are cousins that leave their family homes for Bordeaux to plant their own vineyard. While they are young and ambitious the two cousins seek their own place in the wine industry. David is content to work the land and be connected with the soil, while Gaspard is introduced to high society and the world of political connections. Their love for wine is a result of their grandfather's passion.
I enjoyed the story of how the young men develop their vineyard and set out to break into the tightly knit wine society in Bordeaux. The book also offered insight into France's wine industry and how the war impacted wine growers.
Would I recommend this book? Absolutely, Author Jean-Paul Malaval wrote a book that will transpose you back to a different era. The Wharf of Chartrons is a continuation of The Winegrowers of Chantegrele a book that I am going to seek out.
Jean-Paul Malaval was a journalist before turning to a career as a writer of local photography books and later fiction. In 1982, he began what would become a long-term relationship with the publishing house Éditions Milan, in Toulouse. To date, Jean-Paul Malaval has written ten works of historical fiction, mainly based in the region where he grew up, the Corrèze, which is near the Dordogne. Five of his ten novels have been published by Presses de la Cité. He is loyal to his home region and has been mayor of the town of Vars-sur-Roseix in Corrèze since 1995.
This giveaway is open internationally, one print book for someone in the U.S. and on ebook for someone anywhere else in the world. Thanks so much to France Book Tours for organizing this great tour. To enter the giveaway go here.