The Winemakers by Jan Moran
The plight of women in the 1950s is no laughing matter. When I think of the 50s, my mind conjures images of poodle skirts, Buddy Holly, and soda shops; glorifying them as the golden days of American ingenuity and progress. While there is an element of truth in those images, the plight of women (and obviously minorities) is something often overlooked. The Winemakers deals quite a bit with the realities of single mothers, especially those who were un-married. The stigmas, social ramifications, and even ostracization from family made it very difficult for most single mothers to keep their children and continue a normal life.
Caterina grew up with her widowed immigrant mother and childhood friends, working their family winery in the beautiful Napa Valley. In her last year of college, Caterina finds herself alone and pregnant. She keeps the baby a secret for a year, and makes the painful decision to keep her daughter despite facing the possibility of losing her legacy and facing ostracization in 1959 society. Though she has not heard from the father of her daughter since conception, the reasons are not what she thinks.
When she finds out she has inherited a house in Italy from her paternal grandmother, she makes the decision to accept it. Her decision sets off a chain of events that bring up long-buried family secrets and sheds light on a far more complicated situation with the father of her child.
Wine connoisseurs, backdrops of Napa Valley and Italy, and strong female characters help make The Winemakers an excellent read. (It had me at wine…)
The final closure point feels a bit thrown-in, but it does tie up all the loose ends nicely. Beautifully written and well-researched, The Winemakers is definitely a weekend read worth exploring.
Grab yourself some wine and get to reading!
Librarian by day, mom/wife/reader by night (among several other quirky things). While others are busying themselves with the newest reality show, she is comfortably lounging in her Pjs, sipping coffee (or wine), and immersing herself in all things literary escapist. When not reading, she is busy singing, exploring the outdoors, mom-ing, wife-ing, and being an over all wannabe Superwoman.