Welcome to my stop on the blog tour celebrating the release of The Vineyards of Champagne by Juliet Blackwell! Thank you to Berkley Publishing for the invitation! Stay tuned for information on how to win a copy at the bottom of this post!
About the Book:
Beneath the cover of France’s most exquisite vineyards, a city of women defy an army during World War I, from the New York Times bestselling author of The Lost Carousel of Provence….
Deep within the labyrinth of caves that lie below the lush, rolling vineyards of the Champagne region, an underground city of women and children hums with life. Forced to take shelter from the unrelenting onslaught of German shellfire above, the bravest among them venture out to pluck sweet grapes for the harvest. But wine is not the only secret preserved in the cool, dark cellars…
In present day, Rosalyn travels to Champagne to select vintages for her Napa-based employer. Rosalyn doesn’t much care for champagne–or France, for that matter. Since the untimely death of her young husband, Rosalyn finds it a challenge to enjoy anything at all. But as she reads through a precious cache of WWI letters and retraces the lives lived in the limestone tunnels, Rosalyn will unravel a mystery hidden for decades…and find a way to savor her own life again, inspired by the hope and defiance of the women who toiled to bring in the grape harvest during the war.
Did you know women and children lived in caves underneath the vineyards of the Champagne region in France during World War I? While the Germans mercilessly shelled their country, there was an underground city brimming with life. And bravery. This is the historical timeline of The Vineyards of Champagne.
In the present day, Rosalyn is visiting Champagne to find the best wines for her work in Napa, California. She discovers a collection of WWI letters sharing the daily life of the women and children living in the caves, and that provides inspiration for Rosalyn for hope and healing in her own life.
Gosh. I loved the characters. I loved learning more about the Champagne region of France. The message for finding happiness is timeless and inspiring.
Overall, The Vineyards of Champagne is a warmhearted story of hope and healing with authentic characters and a lush, fascinating backdrop.
I received a complimentary copy from the publisher.
About the Author:
By the time she graduated middle school, the orchards were disappearing and the valley at the southern tip of the San Francisco Bay had become the cradle of the silicon semi-conductor. A man named Steve Jobs was working in his garage in Cupertino, just down the street. Juliet’s father advised his daughters to enter the lucrative and soon-to-flourish field of computers.
“Bah” said Juliet, as she went on to major in Latin American Studies at the University of California, Santa Cruz (they had, by far, the best parties of any department). Rather than making scads of money in computers, she read, painted, learned Spanish and a little French and Vietnamese, lived in Spain and traveled through Europe, Mexico, and Central America. She had a very good time.
Juliet pursued graduate degrees in Anthropology and Social Work at the State University of New York at Albany, where she published several non-fiction articles on immigration as well as one book-length translation. Fascinated with other cultural systems, she studied the religions, folklore and medical beliefs of peoples around the world, especially in Latin America. Juliet taught the anthropology of health and health care at SUNY-Albany, and worked as an elementary school social worker in upstate New York. She also did field projects in Mexico and Cuba, studied in Spain, Italy, and France, worked on a BBC production in the Philippines, taught English as a second language in San Jose, and learned how to faux finish walls in Princeton, New Jersey. After having a son, moving back to California, and abandoning her half-written dissertation in cultural anthropology, Juliet started painting murals and portraits for a living. She has run her own mural/faux finish design studio in Oakland, across the bay from San Francisco, for more than a decade. She specializes in the aesthetic renovation of historic homes.
Finally, to round out her tour of lucrative careers, Juliet turned to writing. Under the pseudonym of Hailey Lind, Juliet penned the Art Lover’s Mystery Series with her sister Carolyn, about an ex-art forger trying to go straight by working as a muralist and faux finisher in San Francisco. The first of these, Feint of Art, was nominated for an Agatha Award; Shooting Gallery and Brush with Death were both IMBA bestsellers, and Arsenic and Old Paint is now available from Perseverance Press.
Juliet’s Witchcraft Mystery series, about a witch who finally finds a place to fit in when she opens a vintage clothes shop on Haight Street in San Francisco, allows Juliet to indulge yet another interest—the world of witchcraft and the supernatural. Ever since her favorite aunt taught her about reading cards and tea leaves, Juliet has been fascinated with seers, conjurers, and covens from many different cultures and historic traditions. As an anthropologist, the author studied and taught about systems of spirituality, magic, and medicine throughout the world, especially in Latin America. Halloween is by far her favorite holiday.
When not writing, painting, or haranguing her funny but cynical teenaged son, Juliet spends a lot of time restoring her happily haunted house and gardening with Oscar the cat, who ostensibly belongs to the neighbors but won’t leave her alone. He started hanging around when Juliet started writing about witches…funny coincidence.
For a chance to win a paperback copy of The Vineyards of Champagne, please visit my instagram page! Giveaway generously sponsored by the publisher.