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Eight Hundred Grapes


Eight Hundred Grapes

Georgia Ford is getting married in five days. That’s a happy highlight in a woman’s life. And Georgia’s life sounds beyond happy; it sounds perfect. She works for a high-powered law firm in Los Angeles. Her fiancé, Ben, is the ideal man: gorgeous and doting with a sexy British accent. After the wedding ceremony, which will be held on her parents’ vineyard property in Sonoma County, they will move to their new home in a posh neighborhood of London, her favorite city in the world. How much more idyllic could it get?

Well, maybe not a lot more idyllic, but it’s about to get a little less. Just five days before that dream wedding, Georgia uncovers a secret about Ben that sends her fleeing to the family home in Sebastopol, her comfort zone. When she gets there, what she finds isn’t so much comfort as more secrets and a bunch of surprises. In the space of 12 hours, her world has been turned upside down, and she has to figure out how to deal with it. 

"The interactions of the Ford family made me yearn to be a part of it. I wanted to live on that vineyard, to watch those parents dance badly, and for Finn and Bobby to be my brothers, warts and all."

Finn and Bobby, her good brother and the other one, seem to have almost switched roles. At the very least, their relationship has a new strain to it. What’s that all about? And what’s this talk of selling the vineyard? This is the only home Georgia has ever known, and it is the place that makes her father the happiest. How could he even think of selling? She would have found out much of this news after the wedding had she not surprised her parents by coming home early. And the surprises don’t stop there.

I’ve heard that conflict drives plot. If so, there’s enough conflict in EIGHT HUNDRED GRAPES to drive this story to the moon and back. Georgia began with a wonderful man who loved her but undermined that love with secrets, yet never quit loving her. Discovering, five days before the wedding, that he’d harbored such huge secrets is bound to send anyone off in a panic. So Georgia runs home. She always thought she could fix things --- everything, in fact, at least when it was someone else’s problem. Now the problem is hers, and she has to examine her feelings and understand what she truly wants. Sometimes it’s hard to be honest with oneself, and the choices we make are ones we never set out to make. In the days leading up to the wedding, Georgia, Ben, Finn, Bobby and the elder Fords all come to decisions they had no intention of making. The results are…well, decide for yourself.

Georgia tells this delightful, sad and touching story in first person. Her voice is guileless, honest, heart-wrenching and funny. She’s the daughter of two people who fell deeply in love and never came out, although they hit bumps and lost their way sometimes. Their children followed in their footsteps, knowing what love was but each having to define it in his or her own way.

Sure, EIGHT HUNDRED GRAPES says something about wine making, but it really talks about relationships. As Georgia worries about her future, she flashes back to her past, recalling how she grew up. The tears and the joys, the fights and the laughter, all made their home a special place. Because of that, she finally realizes how simple her decision is. The interactions of the Ford family made me yearn to be a part of it. I wanted to live on that vineyard, to watch those parents dance badly, and for Finn and Bobby to be my brothers, warts and all.

I can only hope that Laura Dave plans EIGHT HUNDRED GRAPES to be the first in a trilogy, at the very least.

Reviewed by Kate Ayers on June 5, 2015

Eight Hundred Grapes
by Laura Dave

  • Publication Date: May 3, 2016
  • Genres: Fiction
  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster
  • ISBN-10: 1476789282
  • ISBN-13: 9781476789286