Welcome to my stop for this historical fiction title, Wharf of Chartrons from Jean-Paul Malaval as part of France Book Tour’s promotion. Please be sure to check the other tour stops, and don’t forget to enter the giveaway where one US Winner will receive a paperback ARC copy of the title, and one International winner will receive a digital ARC of the title. Additionally, please be sure to check out Open Road Media’s website, where you can find a video with the author, and other titles for your enjoyment.
In one of my favorite genres, the story in The Wharf of Chartrons manages to incorporate family drama, tradition, memories, wine and the various horrors brought on by war, Jean-Paul Malaval manages to take all the elements and present a lovely story.
Essentially French in feel and nature – the story starts with the patriarch, Octave, and a bit of his own personal history and reputation as a vintner extraordinaire and his quiet contemplation of his life and the changes he has seen. Octave was such a wonderful character with his decided likes and dislikes, his temperament and the decided enjoyment that he takes in serving his “republic” in ways that suit his heart and humor: all speak to the determination and willingness to battle all odds and Mother Nature to bring his grapes to the barrel.
David and Gaspard, his cousin, lived the life of the vintners of old: family run operations in the same homes and lands for generations, and their decision to move their operation into a new and more modern mindset: adding exports, blends and even transplanting the vines to a new region. What follows is this uniquely blended tale of business and family struggles as we see Gaspard and David in their work and home lives.
Gaspard is by far the ‘headier’ more socially aware and grasping cousin: his relationship with his wife felt far more “Paris of the time” than the more grounded and, for me, emotionally accessible David and Helene. The men’s relationships with their wives also seemed to reflect on their own dynamics and difficulties in their business decisions, where David feels like the more reasoned and cautious, where Gaspard is seeing the best case scenario possibilities and is ready to jump in.
Throughout the book, the difficulties and roadblocks pop up from areas unexpected (war and business partner difficulties) and the expected difficulties inherent in any farming venture, let alone winemaking. The insights for an admitted wine novice, combined with the storytelling made this an enjoyable and engaging read, while not quite a read in one setting title, I was finding myself ready to pick the book up again to read just “one more chapter”.
Title: The Wharf of Chartrons
Author: Jean-Paul Malaval
Genre: Historical Fiction
Published by: Open Road Integrated Media
Source: Publisher, Publisher via NetGalley
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A family linked by wine and old rivalries sets out for new territory, during the turmoil of World War I.
David and Gaspard are cousins, bonded by family and their allegiance to their winemaking heritage. Parting with tradition and moving their vineyards near Bordeaux threatens to upset the family peace, but that’s only the beginning of their trouble. Short on funds, they are forced to team with a wealthy but morally corrupt engineer—though perhaps at a cost too high for the cousins…
Despite the odds, David and Gaspard succeed in making a successful wine, Clos-Marzacq. Along the way, they each fall in love, though not always in the best of circumstances. And now, to cement their successes, the cousins need to secure a stronghold on the Wharf of Chartrons, seen as the gateway to selling into England and America.
The Wharf of Chartrons exalts the passion of men who have a love of their land, and who are concerned about drawing the very best wine from it.
Meet Jean-Paul Malaval via video
A copy of this title was provided via Publisher, Publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.