Author: Tricia Stringer
Bestselling Australian Author Tricia Stringer is back with an intriguing new South Australian story that had me hooked.
I think the thing I am beginning to love the most about Tricia Stringer is that she writes South Australian stories but each of them have been set in a completely different area of the state and focused on a different aspect of rural South Australian life.
Between the Vines is set in the Coonawarra wine region and focuses, as you might expect, on wine making. I have no knowledge of wine regions, the industry or the process; to be completely honest I don’t even have a taste for it. Yet I was still completely entranced with this story.
Stringer’s novels have an element of romance but they also have a large element of intrigue. Between The Vines is filled with deceit and subterfuge that keeps you guessing as to what’s really going on and who is really the bad guy.
Taylor Rourke is doing a winery tour of the Coonawarra region for a hen’s weekend with her best friends and as the designated driver she hangs back a little. She has made a pact with herself to take a break; from the drinking, the partying and men. She certainly wasn’t expecting to meet the enigmatic Edward Starr at Wriggly Creek Wines.
She is attracted to Edward and there is certainly some chemistry between them, they spend some time together over the weekend and Edward tells her she should stop back in some time.
A series of events conspire to see Taylor take a sabbatical from her Adelaide life and head back to Wriggly Creek to explore what there might be between her and Edward; except that he isn’t there and Taylor doesn’t have a plan B. She meets Edward’s younger brother Peter Starr and is offered a room in their staff quarters until Edward returns.
This novel is as much about the winery and the brothers as it is Taylor and any romantic storyline. Stringer takes us behind the scenes for an indepth look at the process and all of the work that goes into making wine and all it’s different types.
Edward and Peter Starr inherited the winery after the tragic accident that took their parents, it has always been a family business and the brothers are both passionate about the business but they have very different ideas. They were thrown into the deep end in the midst of their grief so they never made proper plans they just got on with the job of making sure the winery continued. Edward is the business manager and Peter is the winemaker, the numbers & money man and the creator. There are unresolved issues simmering between them and it’s only a matter of time before something explodes.
The explosion could be about the business, the wine or Taylor and it’s neck and neck there for a while. Taylor settles in well to life at the winery and before long she is helping out where she can. In the cellar door, the winery, the lab, cooking evening meals for Edward, Peter & their live-in worker Antoine and even some grape picking; before the end of the story she has even put her business degree to use in hopes of bringing the family feeling back into the family business.
Taylor taking off from Adelaide to explore the chemistry between her and Edward seems a little unrealistic, especially as she has sworn off jumping into anything new after a string of bad decisions about men. At the same time it illustrates the kind of decisions she makes about men and why she needs to swear off them.
Romance, sibling rivalry, vineyard espionage, deceit and a busy vintage season make Between The Vines an engaging read that I did not want to put down.
Edward was not a character I liked. He made a great first impression and it was all downhill from there. I liked him less and less the further into the story I delved. I am not sure that I like him any better now but I have a little more understanding of his motives and I think there is a wealth of untapped potential in his character, I would love Stringer to revisit Wriggly Creek when the iconic vintage wine is bottled and see how things are with him then.
Between The Vines is book #69 for the Australian Women Writer’s Challenge 2015.
We have copies of Between the Vines to giveaway to 5 of our lucky readers thanks to Morey Media and Harlequin. If you want to be one of them tell us in the comments below what you would most like to learn about the wine industry.
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