My enormous thanks to Lesley Crooks at Allison and Busby for allowing me to return to Havenbury by sending me a copy of A Vintage Year by Rosie Howard in return for an honest review. I loved my visit to Havenbury in Rosie’s first book in the series, The Homecoming, and you can read my review of that book here.
Published on 21st February by Allison and Busby, A Vintage Year is available for purchase here. I happen to know there’s a special price drop to less than £1 for the A Vintage Year ebook from today until 7th March so what are you waiting for?
A Vintage Year
It started with ‘happily ever after’, yet just three years after Bella’s fairy-tale wedding to irrepressible Charlie Wellbeloved, her best friend, Maddy, is expecting a baby, while Bella’s own weight gain is purely from comfort eating. Only her little Labrador, Dolly, can boost her spirits as she gloomily surveys her failing marriage and fledgling interior design business.
Dovecot Farm is just a rainstorm away from ruin, but Charlie is hoping against hope his family vineyard will produce a vintage year, saving his business, his childhood home and – most of all – his marriage…
When handsome Rufus appears in the tight-knit Havenbury community, he quickly charms Bella and makes himself indispensable to Charlie. But is he really too good to be true…
My Review of A Vintage Year
Charlie’s vineyard is on the brink of collapse and desperate times call for desperate measures.
What a delight to return to Havenbury in A Vintage Year. Although the focus is on another set of characters, there are familiar faces like Flora and Ben so that reading A Vintage Year feels like returning to friends the reader knows and loves but with the added delight of new people to discover.
I adore the quality of Rosie Howard’s writing. There’s a mature warmth and humanity that shows her characters with all their flaws, and that makes the reader care about them so that the events matter as much to the reader as to participants like Bella and Charlie. Indeed, I was so caught up in the people that in the earlier stages of the novel I had the desperate urge to climb into A Vintage Year and practise my right hook on Rufus. I think it illustrates Rosie Howard’s engaging and clever style that I did moderate my feelings towards him as I read on.
There’s a super plot in A Vintage Year. I was appalled at a decision made by Bella early on and I don’t think I would have done the same thing, but I understood her actions entirely. Subsequent events are captivating and although there are references to The Homecoming, the reader doesn’t need to know that book to love A Vintage Year. As in The Homecoming, Rosie Howard doesn’t just weave a spellbinding tale, but she illustrates how we never really know the lives others have to lead and she gives the reader so many aspects to consider, including identity, control and loyalty. There’s a satisfying depth to Rosie Howard’s writing.
A Vintage Year is one of those books that is difficult to review without spoiling the plot. I guessed many of the outcomes but that only enhanced my pleasure in reading it because they were exactly as they should be. You’ll have to read it for yourself to see what I mean!
A Vintage Year represents the best kind of women’s fiction for me. It has a believable, engaging and interesting plot. It has a wonderful setting in Havenbury. It has characters who are vivid and real whom the reader cares about. Best of all, it transported me to a different world as I read and convinced me that I have found a new favourite author in Rosie Howard.