The Vineyard: A Novel Hardcover – Jun 6 2000
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Like a glass of good pinot noir, Barbara Delinsky's The Vineyard is best enjoyed slowly. The Vineyard follows the triumphs and tragedies of the Seebrings, a wealthy family of vintners in Rhode Island. The story begins when recently widowed, 76-year-old Natalie Seebring announces her scandalous engagement to none other than the vineyard manager, Carl, whose social standing is, needless to say, several notches beneath the Seebrings'. Natalie's children, Susanne and Greg, are furious with their mother for marrying the help, and only six months after their father's death.
Besides her remarriage, Natalie is working on a family history project, one she hopes will explain all the love and loss she has endured before reaching happiness at long last. She recruits Olivia Jones to help with the project, and Olivia and her daughter Tess move out to the vineyard for the summer. Tension builds with the summer heat as the wedding approaches. To make matters worse, Carl's son Simon, the new vineyard manager, is coldly resentful of Olivia and Tess, who remind him of the wife and daughter he has lost. But amidst all this, Natalie Seebring's long-buried past is slowly revealed, and like a summer storm, the truth blows through the vineyard, leaving everything different in its wake.
Barbara Delinsky says she was influenced by Tom Brokaw's The Greatest Generation in writing The Vineyard, and Natalie Seebring is a fine tribute to the strong, silent Americans who made so many sacrifices during World War II. Keep a hankie close by when reading this one. Family tragedy, unlikely romance, and old wrongs finally made right will have you laughing and crying. --Francine McBride
From Publishers Weekly
Wine makers call its meritage: the commingling of several varietal wines into a product that can be marketed as a brand name, year after year. With this novel, the latest of 60-plus, veteran writer Delinsky has once again done exactly that, producing a fan-pleasing blend. At 35, Olivia Jones is a restorer of old photographs, and the mother, via a brief relationship, of a dyslexic, unhappy and bratty 10-year-old named Tess. Herself the daughter of a single mother who checked out as soon as Olivia turned 18, Olivia fantasizes about being related to Natalie Seebring, a client who is the strong-willed and manipulative matriarch of a dysfunctional family of Rhode Island wine makers. When Natalie offers to hire Olivia to be her memoirist and "personal buffer" for a summer, she jumps at the chance. Soon she is embroiled in the turmoil caused when septuagenarian widow Natalie decides to marry former vineyard manager Carl Burke. Natalie's middle-aged children object loudly, and several family employees resign in protest. Meanwhile, Olivia is attracted to Carl's son (and successor as vineyard manager), Simon, who has become a solitary workaholic since the death of his entire family four years earlier in a sailing accident. The only suspense in the slow-moving plot comes at the end, when a hurricane threatens the wine crop, coinciding with the emotional storms produced by Natalie's easily anticipated revelations about her early life; the style is undistinguished, replete with clich?s and italics. Readers who prefer full-bodied novels are likely to find this story bland, thin and cloying. Those fond of literary Beaujolais nouveau, however, to be gulped down on a summer's day without critique, will enjoy this practiced blend of pop psychology, wine-making lore, learning-disability theory and sensuality. (June)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Top Customer Reviews
Nor is there any sordid, soft porn sex scenes to tittilate voyeuristic lust. She builds her love scenes as a gradual, gentle and deeply insightful awakening. She reveals romance in an elegant, classy and very tasteful manner that engages the reader in the reality of the eventual mating without grossing out the reader with the vulgarity found in Stephanie Laurens or even Nora Roberts show-all-tell-all graphic manner that forces some readers to skip those "steamy" pages. Delinsky's books are like opening a box of treasures and never being disappointed or repelled by the contents.
Delinsky also has a wonderful sense of philosophy about family relationships and the manner in which to build strong ones despite setbacks and condemnation by said family or friends. In this book she examines the greatly flawed assumptions that middle aged children dump on their elderly 76 year old mother when she elects to marry her vineyard manager and childhood lover after the death of her husband and father of the kids.
Also this fascinating story is about the labor intensive work of farming a vineyard and the whole issue of sacrifices made by a very strong woman for her entire life to ensure a long term goal of security which makes this story very empowering to women.Read more ›
I loved Olivia - quirky, but also strong, determined and a fierce protector of her daughter. I loved Simon - intelligent, hard-working and dealing with his tragedies in the only way he knows how. I also loved the other main female character, Natalie, who at 76 is more than eager to begin the next chapter of her own life.
The aspect I like best of the Delinsky novels I have read is the reality of them. She writes in such a style that I, the reader, am a part of the books. I really get to know the characters; I can imagine myself in the settings, i.e., walking among the rows of grapevines, or sitting at the 4th of July picnic. I know just how Tess looks with her thick glasses on - smudged & halfway down her nose; I know just how Olivia's heart jumps as she starts to fall in love.
The other thing I really like about Barbara Delinsky is that she doesn't rely on the "power of the author" to just make things happen. Her characters grow and learn on their own; happy endings don't "just happen," they come about through the efforts of her characters. I get so tired of contrived, trite plots & heros & heroines who, after 300 pages of missing each other and misunderstanding each other and lost opportunities and other loves, finally in the last 20 pages find everlasting love & passion.
You won't get that in The Vineyard ... what you get are wonderful, realistic people who (just like us) have something to offer to each other and, in so doing, make the world a little better place.
At 35, Olivia Jones is a single mother working hard to provide for her 10-year-old daughter Tess. Olivia knows art and photography. She's been doing photo restoration for Natalie Seebring for months, although they've never met. Through her work, Olivia has grown very attached to the Seebring family. She can only imagine what each family member is like and imagines herself as a Seebring herself. She jumps at the job offer to work at the vineyard for the summer. The pay will be more than enough to hire tutors to help Tess with her dyslexia.
With Olivia at her side, pen in hand, Natalie's story of love, heartache, struggle and perseverance slowly unfolds, revealing a few secrets along the way.
Meanwhile, Olivia is searching for her own mother as well as dealing with Carl's son, Simon, now the vineyard manager. Simon lost his wife and daughter 4 years ago in a sailing accident and having Olivia around with young Tess only stirs up the pain he's worked so hard to bury.
This is truly a story so well told that you laugh at times and cry at others. There's so much detail on a variety of topics. The reader learns a bit about growing grapes, sailing, hurricanes, the Great Depression and World War II. Each character is so well-written, I feel that if I were ever in Rhode Island, I could simply drive up and pay the Seebrings a visit. Great people book.
Most recent customer reviews
A realistic view of family, the end was a bit rushed though, Barbara Delinsky is one of my favourite authors and she didnt disappoint with the vineyard/Published on Dec 7 2013 by Tracey Seitz
I always enjoy Barbara Delinsky. This is a rich book full of beautiful images. She has such a wonderful writing style that really enables me to get into the characters and... Read morePublished on Oct. 25 2006 by LIL' OLE COWGIRL FROM TEXAS
Please understand; this woman can write. But good writing can never overcome bad plot. Even Shakespeare couldn't pull that off! Read morePublished on July 23 2003 by Duncmac2
I can't think of one thing to change about this book. It was so good, vintage Delinsky. I have read half a dozen books by her and she never disappoints.Published on April 20 2003 by bookworm
This novel is a great light read. The story flows, the characters come alive, and the setting is magnificently described. Read morePublished on Aug. 4 2002 by Patty Philbrook
I loved this book about family and other relationships. They can be difficult at times. Barbara Delinsky is one of my favorite writers.Published on July 28 2002
If you looking for a relaxing and interesting story line about real people, this is it. Enjoyed every page.Published on June 23 2002
I usually read mysteries and suspense so this one was a step out of familiar territory . . . and I loved it. Read morePublished on Feb. 14 2002 by Debbie Lockledge
I loved this book. I have read 16 Delinsky's in this one is in my top 3. I had to go find a hard cover edition for my personal library. Read morePublished on Nov. 30 2001 by SoCalGlo