By: Rachel Goodman
Publisher: Pocket Star Books
Publication Date: May 2016
Reviewed by: Diana Hettinger
Review Date: May 8, 2016
When it comes to sass and bitterness, Margaret Stokes is a professional. Her mother is controlling and emotionally abusive, her boyfriend left her for a waitress and got married, and her “friends” delight in insulting her and watching her fail. The only one on her side is her father and, even then, he must do what makes her mother happy. After tip-toeing around her condescending mother and doing everything right and in the proper way, yet still pleasing no one, she has had enough. She leaves Dallas and heads to Wilhelmsburg, the place her mother came from and also ran away from after a secret that severely damaged her and her mother's relationship. The place where Margaret’s grandmother still resides.
Upon arrival, Margaret stops at The Tangled Vine where she expects her usual fancy wines and high-class experience. What she has is an attitude paired with a glass of local wine given to her by a man named Ryan. She would never admit that she actually likes the wine but is much too stubborn to let him know. A bottle later, Ryan takes her home to her grandmother’s bed and breakfast where Margaret will take time off from her real life, try to discover a family secret, and do her fair share of work. She got far more than she bargained for but got exactly what she needed: Understanding, compassion, and a renewed self-esteem.
As the story progresses, Margaret learns what real relationships are about and who real friends and family are. She learns that what is considered fancy and worthy according to others, does not mean that it is not fancy or worthy in its own right. She comes to understand and make peace with what life is really about, who she is, and that she is worthy of love. She finds the strength that she never knew she had and for the first time, nothing will stand in the way of her happiness.
Last night I finished reading Sour Grapes and felt as though a part of me was left in the book. I have not been drawn into a book as much as this one in a very long time. Goodman makes the characters relatable and the descriptions vivid and the entire time I was reading I felt as though I was actually there. Where many books start slow and are hard to get into at first, this one drew me in from the very first sentence and kept my attention the entire way through. There are twists that occur and surprise you, wines that make your mouth water with their descriptions, and feelings so raw you actually open your own heart up to feel what these characters are feeling. I could not be more sad that a book is finished and would love to buy each of the wines described. I truly can not wait for another book by Rachel Goodman. Beautifully and wonderfully done.
Quill says: Sour Grapes is a book that will draw you in with the beautifully worded descriptions of wine and scenery that will make you want to run to your nearest local winery.