Review: Midnight at the Wandering Vineyard by Jamie Raintree

A young woman at a crossroads in her life returns home to her family’s vineyard in California when tragedy strikes and reconnects with her estranged childhood best friend. They decide to complete the bucket list they created the summer they were 18, the summer that saw their friendship torn apart. But when the man who came between them all those years ago reappears, it challenges their fragile new bond and pushes each woman to confront past hurts and buried truths.

My Thoughts:

Have you ever experienced having a book cover catch your eye, then thought to yourself “I don’t even care what that book is about, its cover is beautiful and I have to read it?” Well, that was my experience with Midnight at the Wandering Vineyard. Luckily, the book synopsis and genre also appealed to me.

My book club’s theme for September was to read a book that featured a setting/location that you would love to travel to. This book was a perfect fit for that. It is set in California wine country – a location that I have always wanted to travel to. The story takes place on a family estate that functions as a ranch & a vineyard. From the first time that I watched Disney’s The Parent Trap (1998), I have dreamed of traveling to a place like this. As a young girl, I loved anything to do with horses and I took Western-style riding lessons at a local ranch. I read horse books and I would have loved to own a horse of my own. Now, I enjoy watching horse & ranch themed shows and movies, like Heartland. I often think that in another life I would love to own a ranch of my own! And if I also owned a vineyard, well wouldn’t that be icing on the cake?

Overall, I did enjoy and like the book. I could identify with Mallory and the internal conflicts she faced upon returning home to find that her relationships had changed over time. Like her friend Kelly, I have also experienced the loss of my mother. Although my loss was under different circumstances than hers, I could identify with her need for guidance and re-direction at this time in her life. I appreciated that the topic of grief was in the book, but enjoyed that it was not the main focus or plot theme. Of course I also enjoyed the love conflict between Mallory and Sam and how he unexpectedly re-entered her life. But as a reader, I appreciated the twist ending.

This book is classified as Chick-Lit, but it is about as much into the chick-lit genre as I would want to venture. I’m finding that my tolerance for this type of reading material is lessening and that I’d prefer to read books that are a touch more literary. But because this book also falls in the Women’s Fiction genre, overall I think that it was a good balance for me (especially because Women’s Fiction is a genre I love).

I’d Recommend This Book If:

  • you enjoy beautiful wine country or ranch-type settings
  • you can identify with personal relationships/friendships and the internal conflict of a twenty-something young women
  • you want a bit of romance without it being too predictable.

My Rating: 3.5 stars – It was okay and I liked it. I enjoyed it but nothing truly stood out to me (aside from the setting).

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