Starting Over at the Vineyard in Alsace by Julie Stock
It’s springtime at The Vineyard in Alsace, a new season and a new beginning
After being abandoned by her partner when she falls pregnant, Lottie Schell goes home to live on The Vineyard in Alsace, where she has started a new relationship with the estate’s winemaker, Thierry. Now about to give birth, Lottie’s determined to raise her child and to provide for them both on her own without having to depend on anyone else.
Thierry Bernard is still dealing with his grief and guilt following the death of his wife two years earlier, for which he blames himself. When he meets Lottie, the instant attraction he feels towards her gives him hope that he can move on from the tragedy of his past, as long as he can tell Lottie the truth of what happened.
When circumstances force Lottie and Thierry closer together, they both find it hard to compromise – she’s proudly independent and he’s fiercely protective – and they’re both wary about trusting someone new with their heart.
Can Lottie and Thierry take a chance on each other, move on from their pasts and start over?
Escape to The Vineyard in Alsace once again with this romantic read set in the heart of Alsace’s wine country.
This is the second book in the Vineyard in Alsace series by Julie Stock and I was over the moon to be back at the Domaine des Montagnes where, in book one, we had left Didier and Fran rekindling their relationship. Fran is still working on the new visitors centre at Didier’s family vineyard, alongside the winemaking and restoring the Chateau. This book focusses on Fran’s sister Lottie, who is just about to have her first baby and is learning how to adjust to a lot of change in her life.
Thrown into single motherhood whilst still mending her broken heart, Lottie is determined not to be reliant on any man, ever again, despite tentatively starting a relationship with vineyard winemaker Thierry. Things are moving at quite a pace for Thierry too. He is still grieving, and blaming himself, for his wife’s death two years ago but doesn’t want to repeat his previous mistakes and lose a chance of happiness with Lottie. This book is a rollercoaster of female hormones and emotions as Lottie, and those around her, get to grips with pregnancy, a new baby, new relationships and trust issues.
There were times when I wanted to knock some sense into Lottie, but I loved following their emotional journey, all the time keeping my fingers crossed they’d find a way forward, and together. Fran is always on hand to support her sister, even while going through a tough, emotional time herself as she and Didier plan their vineyard wedding. This book does cover some difficult and sensitive issues in places, handled in a thoughtful and compassionate way.
The vineyard itself provides a constant, grounding backdrop to the drama. The daily inspections of the vines, the changing of the seasons, the issues of weather and disease, all help to keep a focus and calm a troubled mind. It was a great reminder that taking a walk outdoors can be a real benefit to the mind and body when things around you get tough.
I really enjoyed being back at the vineyard in Alsace, and this book has left me wanting more. I do hope there will be a third book in this series in the future.
Julie Stock writes contemporary feel-good romance from around the world: novels, novellas and short stories. She published her debut novel, From Here to Nashville, in 2015, after starting to write as an escape from the demands of her day job as a teacher. Starting Over at the Vineyard in Alsace is her ninth book, and the second in the Domaine des Montagnes series set on a vineyard.
Julie is now a full-time author, and loves every minute of her writing life. When not writing, she can be found reading, her favourite past-time, running, a new hobby, or cooking up a storm in the kitchen, glass of wine in hand.
Julie is a member of the Romantic Novelists' Association and The Society of Authors. She is married and lives with her family in Bedfordshire in the UK.
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