Thirty-two-year-old Jason Barnes recently lost his job, and his heart. Now, thanks to a meddling ex-wife and a golf cart fiasco, he has just thirty days to pay a $60,000 fine or go to jail.
Jason was hoping his Aunt Clara would come to his rescue, but she unexpectedly dies, gifting her liquid assets to charity. She does, however, will Jason a picturesque French vineyard—and it’s worth millions. But there’s a catch! If Jason goes to jail, the vineyard will transfer to his unscrupulous stepbrother.
To raise the cash he needs, Jason travels to France with his knucklehead of a best friend to sell the vineyard. Cashing in will not be so simple, though. Formidable nuns farm the vineyard, and he needs their blessing to sell. To persuade the good sisters, Jason attempts a madcap series of dubious schemes, and while doing so falls for what he thinks is the perfect French woman. Amidst this melee of wine, women, nuns, and villains, Jason must unearth his true values in order to save more than just his soul.
Kathryn - 3 Star
Saving Grapes was a madcap race through the French countryside rather than a novel about character development for me. But it was fun and fast paced and the crazy situations definitely amused me.
I was occasionally frustrated about Jason’s character and liked that Stumpy eventually put his foot down and said enough was enough. But it was hard to get into the seriousness of the novel’s situations without really feeling for Jason. He seemed stuck between genuinely interested in making amends and only being concerned with himself and it was tough to get inside his head.
I had a quibble with the passport issue- it seemed very unlikely that he would make it into France on someone else’s passport so that was a bit irritating every time it came up. I also wish we had had more time with Aunt Clara, she obviously cared for Jason as there was warmth shown when he was a child and “motherly” memories but it seems she dismissed him as he grew up and became more independent- I wish that hadn’t been so or that we’d had more time with them during the growing-up period of his life.
The novel was funny though and there were moments of beauty with the countryside and the peace of the nuns and their vineyard.
In the end I enjoyed reading Saving Grapes but it did leave me feeling like something was missing or that more could have been done to make the story utterly enticing. It all wrapped up in a perfect little bow in the end with a little twist I wasn’t expecting (but how else were they going to get out of the legal situation!).
Thank you to Emerald Book Company for our review copy. All opinions are our own.
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