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Monday, May 2, 2022

New in Paperback- Blush by Jamie Brenner

Reprinted from auburnpub.com:

Blush by Jamie Brenner

Published by G.P. Putnam's Sons ISBN 9780593087817

Trade paperback, $17, 416 pages

Jamie Brenner’s Blush starts out in Manhattan, on the Upper East Side where the successful fancy cheese shop Leah has run for twenty years is about to lose its lease. 

Leah returns to her parents’ wine estate in North Fork, Long Island where her father tells her that they must sell the winery that they built forty years ago due to financial reasons. Leah always wanted to be a part of the winery business, but her father chose her brother Asher as his heir apparent to learn the business, which hurt Leah. 

Vivian, Leah’s mother, is devastated to learn that they will not only lose the winery, but also the beautiful home that she designed on the property. Vivian has always been the face of the winery, the impeccably dressed hostess for weddings and tastings, but she always wanted to have more of a say in how the business was run.

When Leah’s daughter Sadie shows up hoping to work on her thesis, she discovers a cache of notebooks that her grandmother had hidden recounting the book club meetings that she held years ago. 

The books discussed were novels popular in the 1980s- Judith Krantz’s Scruples, Jackie Collins’ Chances and Shirley Cochran’s Lace among them. (Many of us will recognize those titles immediately from our own reading history.)

The three women, along with Asher’s much younger girlfriend Bridget, form their own book club to read these books and take inspiration from the characters in the story. The women in these books took it upon themselves to go after what they wanted in business and their personal lives. Can these women do the same and save the winery from disaster?

If you are someone who enjoys wine, as I do, you’ll will get a higher level of satisfaction from this book as you learn all about the process of growing grapes for wine, all the way through the winemaking process. I found it utterly fascinating.

Brenner excels in showing us the three stages of loving relationships- Vivian and her husband of forty years and the lifelong partnership they have, Leah and her husband’s middle-aged marriage issues, and Sadie finding love in the throes of youthful attraction.

I liked how the title of the book- Blush- echoes the one-word titles of the 1980’s novels. Blush is a wonderful female-centered story that updates the sentiments of those earlier novels for today’s woman.  

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