Crush

A Tale of Two Vineyards

Fiction - Drama
274 Pages
Reviewed on 06/06/2019
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

Joye Emmens lives and writes in Ventura, California. She is also the author of She's Gone.

    Book Review

Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite

Crush: A Tale of Two Vineyards is a work of dramatic family saga and romantic fiction penned by author Joye Emmens. Set between the lush vineyards of both the South of France and the valleys of California, our central heroine is Olivia, for whom wine has been a way of life since she first set foot in Clos de Harmonie, CA, her grandparents’ vineyard. Inspired to study more about the craft, Olivia accepts an offer to complete her education in France. Here she meets Luke, an enigmatic Frenchman who offers her a whirlwind romance, but when life calls her home to California, the pressures of trying to have it all take their toll on the idealistic young woman.

There are beautifully romantic moments in this tale, but it is first and foremost a realistic story of one woman’s fortitude, strength, and duty to her family. Fans of wine and the romanticism of wine-making will enjoy the sun-drenched moments that Olivia spends at home and abroad, as well as the entertaining cast of characters who work the vines and help her along the way as she tries to resurrect her grandparents’ dreams and keep their family business going. Luke is an attractive lead, but more complex than he first seems, and the message about the nature of real love comes through loud and clear. Overall, author Joye Emmens has produced an excellent drama that fans of realistic and inspiring fiction are sure to enjoy, and I would highly recommend Crush: A Tale of Two Vineyards to them.

Debjani Ghosh

Set among the vineyards in southern France and central California, Crush: A Tale of Two Vineyards by Joye Emmens is an enchanting novel that celebrates the resilience of human spirit and the blossoming of love. Olivia found her calling in winemaking after spending summers in her grandparents’ vineyard in California, Clos de Harmonie. She eventually pursues a degree in Viticulture and Enology and decides to complete her Master’s degree project at a Frenchman’s biodynamic vineyard in France that has been tended by his family for the last five generations. It’s love at first sight for Olivia and Luke, the Frenchman. As she spends her time in Luke’s family vineyard, she is constantly racked by the guilt that she is neglecting Clos de Harmonie. A tragic turn of events leads Olivia to return to California. She decides to get Clos de Harmonie certified as a biodynamic vineyard. No one thinks she can do it. Can Olivia prove herself? Can she turn around a decrepit vineyard and not lose Luke in the process?

Joye Emmens has created a colorful cast of characters in Crush: A Tale of Two Vineyards. Olivia is my favorite character due to her sheer tenacity, courage and determination to succeed. Not a day in Olivia’s life is bereft of activity. After making up her mind to get Clos de Harmonie certified, Olivia doesn’t waste any time moping around, discouraged by the challenges. She meets them head-on, going through the process step-by-step, and enlisting help from her friends. I truly admired her rational approach to surmounting adversities. Despite the tough times, she doesn’t let bitterness creep in and tries to cheer up her friends and workers in the vineyard. She is ably supported by the rest of the characters. Luke was the gentlemanly, handsome lover a girl can only dream of. I liked the bonhomie between Olivia’s friends. Further, Joye Emmens has captured the complex family dynamics well. Leroy as the secretive, grouchy, mean neighbor was the perfect foil to Olivia’s plans.

I was floored by the mesmerizing descriptions of the vineyards, which fueled the wanderlust in me. The author’s vivid descriptions transported me to the idyllic French countryside where Luke and Olivia courted each other. Further, Emmens’ research on wine-making shines through, and I thoroughly enjoyed reading about the winemaking process. The overall setting, description of the winemaking process, the wonderful ensemble of characters, and the climax makes Crush: A Tale of Two Vineyards by Joye Emmens a perfect read for lovers of romance and contemporary fiction who don’t mind being bitten by wanderlust and being captivated by the enchanting process of winemaking.

Edith Wairimu

Crush: A Tale of Two Vineyards by Joye Emmens is a delightful story of two lovers separated by thousands of miles. Olivia intends to leave California for France to undertake her internship. She is enchanted by Luke, a handsome Frenchman who runs his family’s winery, and he, in turn, is equally attracted to her. Luke’s family house and vineyard are as beautiful as Olivia had imagined but not everyone is as excited about their courtship. Olivia leaves France for home to run her grandparents’ vineyard, but could the responsibilities be more than she had imagined, and will she be able to prove the critics wrong? Her relationship with Luke is also in jeopardy and with each passing day, the problems seem to continue mounting.

Luke and Olivia share a beautiful and unusual relationship. Olivia is eccentric and down to earth. She shares her grandparents’ love for the land and the valley. Despite objections and the distance separating them, Luke and Olivia remain committed to each other. Other supporting characters portray interesting qualities that add flavor to the story. Olivia’s mother is opposed to her daughter’s career choice and does not understand why Olivia finds the farm life special. Her dad, on the other hand, is supportive and admires his daughter’s resilience and skills. The story changes from the tranquillity and beauty of the vineyards and the two lovers’ story to the daunting challenges that Olivia faces. It is a treat for romance fans and contains a mix of love and fortitude.