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Luke Scherer has turned bad romance into an art. When he catches his latest deadbeat boyfriend selling Luke’s belongings—and his own body—to cover his debts, Luke decides he needs a vacation. He just doesn’t expect his Napa Valley retreat to be a step into his past.
Eight years ago Mal Kuijpers was grieving his wife while his vineyard floundered. Hiring Luke for the summer put the business back on track and a smile back on Mal’s face.
Nineteen-year-old Luke had just gotten out from under his father’s thumb and started saving for his education, his last screw-you to his old man. Then he made the mistake of falling for his boss, his dad caught up with him, and Luke panicked—and fled.
Now they have another chance. Mal has his own share of closet skeletons, including a family he doesn’t talk to and a dead wife he sometimes does, and he’s gone without romance for years. He works hard to convince Luke he’s worth more than a casual fling and asks for nothing in return, but Luke needs a relationship of equals. If Mal can believe in himself and Luke can believe in love, two hot summers might yield a lifelong reward.
So I think there was a lot to like about this book. And I think maybe I enjoyed it…? (so NOT a good sign when you’re not quite sure, huh?)
I’ll admit there are times that I can be a lazy reader. And maybe that’s what I’m being now. But this book made me try too hard. You see, Ashlyn Kane uses this style in A Good Vintage where she sprinkles “interludes” or flashbacks in between present day story points…in EVERY chapter, I guess to explain the why’s and how’s of what’s going on. It’s clever, I suppose. But, it just made me frustrated and confused at times and then disinterested and then impatient. And by the end…pooped.
The thing is, I quite liked the story of Mal and Luke. I loved the build of the relationship over time and the reacquainting after years passed. I enjoyed their hesitation, and their courting, and their growth. And their kisses…such tender and passionate kisses! It was a romantic story! There were also whispers of some interesting side stories along the way (but I’m not sure if those actually added to or distracted from the story itself)
I did, however, sometimes feel disconnected from the MC’s because I felt a bit, even after all their time together past and present, that I still didn’t know them. And sometimes I felt their behavior in situations were unlike what I thought about them…thus adding to the “do I know them?” feeling I was getting. I’m not sure what it was but I felt by the end that something was missing…like all the makings of a great book were there but it didn’t come together.
I’m so on the fence about this book. It was an ok-enough read. I didn’t hate it. But something about it left me feeling unfulfilled, despite how long it was and the read itself was a bit laborious. Still a fan of Ashlyn Kane’s writing (American Love Songs), but this one didn’t quite come together.
Title: A Good Vintage
Author: Ashlyn Kane
Release Date: December 6, 2013
Purchase Links: Dreamspinner