In Napa Valley, he who has the best grapes wins. And in the pursuit of perfection, dreams and hearts can be crushed.
Sophia Stone is a widow on the brink of an empty nest, stuck in an unsatisfying job managing the vineyard for a mediocre Napa vintner. Faced with an uncertain future she wonders how do you choose between making a living and making a life? Between protecting your heart and sharing it? Five years ago, after her husband was killed in an accident, Sophia put her heart and dreams on ice to care for those around her. Now her home, her dreams, and her family’s legacy grapes are threatened by the greed of the new money moving into the Valley. Sophia has a choice—give up and let them take what is hers, or risk everything fighting a battle everyone says she can’t win.
Nico Treviani has one goal in life: make brilliant wine. A woman would be an unwanted distraction. So, while recognized as one of Napa’s premier vintners, Nico finds himself alone… until his brother’s death drops not one, but two women into his life—his thirteen-year-old twin nieces. In an instant, Nico gains a family and loses his best friend and partner in the winemaking business. Struggling to care for his nieces, Nico accepts a job as head winemaker for Avery Specter, one of the new-money crowd. And he learns the hard way that new money doesn’t stick to the old rules.
When Sophia Stone gets caught in the middle of Nico’s struggle to remain true to himself or sacrifice his convictions to make stellar wine, both Sophia and Nico are faced with a choice they never imagined. A choice that might extinguish the hope of a future neither expected.
Title: Crushed (The Heart of Napa Series #1)
Author: Deborah Coonts
Genre: Fiction | Contemporary | Romance | Women’s Fiction
Publisher: Deborah Coonts
Published: March 8, 2016
Format: Kindle edition, 291 pages
FTC Disclaimer: I received an ARC from the publisher via Kate Tilton Book Bloggers in exchange for a fair and honest review. Opinions expressed are mine.
This is my first Deborah Coonts read, and it won’t be my last. Deborah combines detail, emotion, and realism to create the story and its characters. These components keep the reader engaged and reading.
In Crushed, the first in the Heart of Napa Series, we meet Sophia Stone and Nico Treviani. Both are lovers of good wine but approach the end product from very different motivations.
Sophia was raised in a family whose grape-growing and harvesting were as important and loving as the crushing of the grapes and fermenting the wine itself.
Nico, on the other hand, has gone to work for someone paying out new money for what Nico does, and the pay is good. Ironically, Nico hires Sophia’s daughter, Dani, without knowing the familial connection. Without realizing it, Nico’s focus in the wine production business has moved away from anything related to the love that goes into producing a good wine.
Driven by greed and a need to control, something happens which threatens Sophia’s small, two-acre plot of grapes. Nico ends up in the middle of the fight over land but also finds himself falling in love. We all know love complicates anything much less the loss of a persons hope for tomorrow’s income.
Although Sophia feels strongly for Nico, she cannot abide the idea that he is a part of the threat to her home and grapes.
This is a story of complexities and complex personalities. Deborah speaks to the choices we make and how they affect lives through her characters, both the good and the bad. It is a story that could happen to anybody.
Crushed is a book for anyone who enjoys a good read. Currently sitting at home with an injury keeping me down, I read Crush in two days between good naps, great pain killers, and meals. It was a great way to take my mind off my own problems.
I highly recommend this book for all the reasons above, and now I’m off to find another Deborah Coonts book to read!
My mother tells me I was born in Texas a very long time ago, but I’m not so sure—my mother can’t be trusted. She’ll also tell you I was a born storyteller. That I believe—I have the detention notices and bad-conduct reports to prove it. However, the path from minor hyperbolist, or as I prefer to think of my former self, Grand Master of the Art of Self-Prevarication, to the author of the New York Times Notable Crime Novel and double Rita ™ finalist, Wanna Get Lucky?, the book that launched the bestselling series, was a bit tortured.
Someone once told me I lived a peripatetic life—yes, I had to look it up. And he was right. I’ve been everything from a mom, business owner, accountant, wife, pilot, flight instructor, lawyer …worse, a tax lawyer… to a writer. The three personas I’ve kept suit me the best: mom, flight instructor, and writer. And the other personas I’ve tried on then shrugged out of and discarded like an itchy coat were great grist for the story mill.
Chasing stories keeps me busy and out of jail…for the most part. Researching in Vegas can be a it… sketchy.
Prodded by the next adventure and the police, I keep moving. Right now I have a house in Texas, but that will change soon. I lived in Vegas for 15 years—the longest I’d stayed anywhere. And I get back there often. But other places, too, are calling.
Someone asked me the other day where I lived. The question stopped me cold. Finally, I said, “On Southwest Airlines, third row, window seat, either side.” Always in search of a story. And the adventure would be perfect if they could just stock a split of nice Champagne.
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