from my bookshelf: the lost vintage by ann mah


kate travels from san francisco to france to visit the vineyard that has been in her family for generations to visit her loved ones and to prepare for her upcoming wine master exam. she plans for the trip to be a quick and focused one. instead, a secret about kate’s family history from world war ii comes to light, pulling kate away from her studies and into the depths of her ancestry. by the time she starts to learn the truth about where she comes from, she isn’t sure if she truly wants to know it.


“I wouldn’t have admitted it to anyone, but the truth was this: I had vowed never to return to this place. Oh yes, I had dreamed of it a thousand times, the sweep of vines marching across rolling slopes, the sun a slash of white heat against the sky, the shimmering light and dappled shadows. But always my dreams twisted dark, the skies dimming with heavy clouds, rough winds stirring the leaves into a hiss of whispered secrets.”

“…the beauty still bewitched me–the air, silken and pure, the crisp sounds of snipping secateurs and heels crunching on graveled dirt, the precision of orderly vines marching across gentle slopes.”

“What would it be like to spend your whole life in the same small village, on the same patch of land, surrounded by the same people and things?”

“A blaze of late-autumn sunshine transformed the fading vineyards into a bank of dancing flames. I lingered behind the others so that the sound of their voices drifted to me on the breeze, relishing the sun soaking through the dark fabric of my coat, the strength of my stride as the terrain steepened. And then, nearing the the top of the slope, a view of golden vines tumbling to a toylike village–a white steeple piercing the cluster of buildings–and, even here, the faint clang of church bells chiming the hour. Sunday in France, I thought, was forever an idyll.”

“…by trying to hide the truth, our family had prevented itself from ever moving forward into the future.”