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. 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.
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 winemaking process. Debjani Ghosh 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.
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 winemaking 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. K.C. Finn for Readers’ Favorite 5 Stars
“A charming romance set within two world-renowned wine regions. Emmens’ artful descriptions and engaging characters linger well after the last page.”
Michelle Robin La, author of Catching Shrimp with Bare Hands
Wine and romance have always inextricably linked. Yeats once wrote, “Wine enters through the mouth/Love the eyes/I raise the glass to my mouth/I look at you/I sigh.” Joye Emmens’ latest book, Crush: A Tale of Two Vineyards, toasts the deep and vital history of winemaking (and drinking) and, like Yeats, highlights the undeniable chemistry between wine and romance. Olivia is one research program away from her master’s degree when she’s assigned to show a dashing Frenchman around the biodynamic vineyards of California. A fifth-generation winemaker, Lucien is kind and handsome, but more importantly he shares Olivia’s singular passion for the art of wine. Despite this bond, their relationship must prove that it can withstand wildly different landscapes, endless stretches of time, and untold pressure—just the ingredients you need to make a bottle of fine wine.
Late in the novel, a character praises a piece of art by saying, “The detail draws you into the scene.” The same sentiment applies to Crush. Wines, delicate and radiant, shine through Emmens’ descriptions. In fact, everything is delicious in her world: the sun is “warm rose and apricot”, dusty paths are speckled with crushed chamomile—even kisses are laced with boysenberry and spice. Reading Crush felt like the first warm day after a long winter; though motions are familiar, the bubbling romance and anticipation of things to come lifts your spirits. Speaking of spirits, Emmens’ knowledge of wine runs deep, but her explanations of biodynamic, organic, and other professional nomenclature is never condescending. You’ll emerge from the golden world of Clos de l’Harmonie a little more in love with wine. Whatever your drink preference, odds are you’ll feel satiated after having read Crush. Red City Review 5 Stars
I loved this story! Crush is filled with magnificent scenery, which transported me to another world. Who wouldn’t want to read about California wine country and the south of France? In terms of picturesque scenery, you can’t beat that. Crush also had perfect elements of tension built into the storyline. I’m thinking firstly of the relationship between Olivia and her mother, who doesn’t understand why her daughter wants to waste her time at the family farm. Olivia, while following her passion for making the best wine she can, simply wants her mother to be proud of her accomplishments. Then there is the issue of the returning neighbor, who Olivia disliked as a teenager. Luckily, the neighbor’s daughter Hailey is cut from a different cloth. Of course, the most significant source of tension comes from the big question about whether or not Olivia and Luke will be able to work out a plan to be together. The many storylines flowing at one time makes this book such a joy to read. Every chapter had something interesting to relate.
I thoroughly enjoyed the fact that this well-written story was full of friends and family working together to create something each was passionate about. Each character had a story that made him or her interesting. The author did an excellent job capturing the different relationships between all the characters. I loved the fact that Olivia was a strong female who knew what she wanted and had the intelligence and drive to pursue her goals, but she was flexible enough to incorporate the unknown into her life when it felt right. While reading this, I couldn’t help but think how marvelous it would be if this story were made into one of those films that showcase, love, wine, friends, and cultural adventures. Hopefully there will be a sequel that will further explore these intriguing and memorable characters. If there is a Crush sequel, I’m keeping my fingers crossed that I’ll be able to read that one too.
Susan Miller for San Francisco Book Review – 5 Stars