Published October 2012 by Gemelli Press LLC|Pages: 247
Genre: Adult Fiction
True Vines is an e-ARC from netgalley.com, which has not influenced my review in any way
Goodreads Summary: When the Italian countryside simply won’t leave your heart…
After the sudden death of her Italian winemaker husband, Meryl Michelli flees to her small hometown in Pennsylvania, looking to slam the door on heartache and trudge forward. But it’s never that simple, especially when old family ties have been strained by years of geographic and emotional distance.
A chance encounter with a childhood friend brings back a betrayal she could never put to rest, and readjusting to life in the States in upper mid-life wears her thin in ways she never could have imagined. Just when Meryl feels she can’t go on, Providence steps in and gives her permission to completely fall apart. Only then can she finally manage to grieve both her magnanimous, flawed Francesco and the unforgettable country she left behind.
True Vines traverses the manicured rows of northern Italy’s majestic wine country and the winding path of Pennsylvania’s Delaware River as Meryl seeks to reconcile her past and her present. Several people on each side of the Atlantic guide her as she relives her own stories: a spirited sister-in-law, a petulant physician, a strong-willed landlady, a good-guy boss, a determined mother-in-law, an amazing flood survivor, a Senegalese English student, a young co-worker. Each recollection and encounter deepens Meryl’s insight into how to make peace with her new reality.
Saying goodbye to one existence allows Meryl to swing the door open to another as she weaves a new, uniquely beautiful tapestry that transports her to exactly the place in this short, sacred life she is meant to be.
When I started reading True Vines, I thought it was okay. By the end, I totally loved it, and even started crying at one point!
I loved seeing Meryl grieve and realize that Italy will always be a part of her. I liked seeing her life in Italy, her life before moving and picking up the pieces back in the U.S. The characters, especially Meryl, were so interesting and full of life, and I couldn’t wait to see how their stories would unfold. Speaking of stories unfolding, I really liked how Baur wove the different stories together. Initially, I wasn’t sure about Meryl’s time in the U.S., in past and present time, with her life in Italy. But it really came together in the end, and I can’t imagine True Vines being told any other way.
There really is an interesting cast of characters, and I really liked seeing how they were really important in Meryl’s journey. There’s something really heart-warming about True Vines, and after reading it, I totally want to go to Italy…and maybe just do some general traveling. I know romance wasn’t a big element of the book, but I didn’t find either one particularly compelling and I didn’t feel like there was a big connection between Meryl and her husband or her boss at the coffee place.
There’s so much going on in True Vines, and I loved how Baur handled everything. Something about True Vines rang true and felt so real and authentic. I think it’ll stay with me for quite some time, and the progress Meryl made was so dang touching by the end. Seriously, I shed quite a few tears. It was super-touching.
I absolutely loved True Vines and Meryl’s journey. There’s an interesting assortment of characters, and Italy is such a great setting. True Vines gets 5 stars.