Mallory hasn’t been back to visit her hometown in ten years. She left California on the heels of two major setbacks: first, a break up with her then quasi-boyfriend, Sam; and second (and more devastating) a massive fight with her lifelong best friend, Kelly. Unable to deal with the emotional fallout, she left for school and never looked back. Now she’s a successful marketing exec in New York, adored by her boss and about to be promoted. She’s successful. And happy. Well, mostly.
Unfortunately, her past still weighs heavy, and she’s never really been able to put the memories behind her. So when her parents announce that they are hosting a huge party on the family-owned vineyard to celebrate twenty years of business, Mallory sees it as an opportunity to make things right. She flies home to California to support her parents, reconnect with Kelly, and maybe even hash it out with Sam. Of course things don’t go exactly as planned, but the ensuing events force Mallory to reevaluate her priorities and figure out what—and who—is most important to her.
I really loved this book. I read it while Chicago was experiencing some of the lowest temps seen in a generation (-23 degrees F, with a feels like temp of -40), and all I could think about (while whining my way through it all…) was being back in my home state of California. The description of Mallory’s family vineyard is spot on, and I could picture the farms, the horses, the rolling hills of vines perfectly. The romance of the setting alone was enough to keep me hooked.
But I also liked following Mallory along as she tried to figure out who she was and what she valued. Her choices are not perfect, but if you’ve been 20-something and in love with the wrong guy, you’re going to understand Mallory’s plight. It may not always be pretty to watch her struggle, but it still makes for a good, relatable story. And in the end, while she has to revisit some less-than-stellar relationships to gain some closure, at least she does come out stronger.
Ultimately, Midnight at the Wandering Vineyard is a well-written, engaging, picturesque, feel-good story. I loved it start to finish.
Thank you Graydon House and Amazon Vine for the ARC!