I don’t usually like family dramas, but Eight Hundred Grapes was one I finally got into! I don’t know whether it was the backdrop of the family vineyard, the lawyer trying to find her way in life, or the deep family ties, but this was a very entertaining read. The author included just enough information about growing grapes and turning them into wine for me to understand the work associated with running a winery and also connect it to the story. The story opened when Georgia unexpectedly arrived home wearing her wedding dress, one week before her wedding, and considered calling off the wedding. Slowly, the veneer of her perfect family disappeared before her eyes, and launched Georgia on a quest to solve everyone’s problems in under a week.
What made this such an easy and addicting read was the dialog between the Ford family. Georgia’s conversations with her twin brothers and parents sounded human. Their characters just came to life with their actions, mannerisms, and word choice. As the issues between the family became clear, Georgia’s sense of duty to her family shaped her as a woman and really made it easy to be invested in the outcome of her life. The book was set in the idyllic Sonoma wine country, which was a perfect location for the love and betrayal that surrounded the family. Some of the references to Georgia’s legal career seemed a little off base and goofy, especially since she didn’t fit into the mold of how female lawyers are so frequently portrayed in literature. Perhaps that was one of the reasons I really liked her: she had a heart and was devoted to the people she cared for.
I tore through this novel so quickly because it was easy to become interested in the lives of these well meaning and realistic characters. I can’t wait for the movie!