The Vineyard by Karen Aldous

"I suppose I ran away as a child but returned as an adult." 

Title - The Vineyard 
Author - Karen Aldous 
Publication Date - May 19th 2014
Publisher - Carina UK 
Format - eBook

The blurb

It's been five years, and Lizzie Lambert has decided it's time to try to make things right with her estranged mother. 

She's made a success of things in Cannes, she's bringing up a lovely little boy on her own, and she's ready to put the past behind her. 

But it seems Lizzie's mother has moved on as well. She's moved her toyboy - a muscle-bound vintner named Cal - into the family home, and given him the run of the land that was meant to be Lizzie's inheritance! 

Cal's wine business frequently takes him to France, and suddenly wherever Lizzie goes, he's already there - meddling, giving unsolicited advice, saving her little boy's life and stealing her heart. But none of this changes the fact that he's her mother's lover...

Becca's thoughts

Set against the beautiful backdrop of France and England, The Vineyard is an emotional, moving story about love, courage and taking chances, written by Karen Aldous. I loved everything about this story and I cannot wait to tell you why. So I would like to say thank you to Karen for putting together the words to create a masterpiece, and of course my favourite publishers, Carina UK. All in all, the perfect package to whisk you away from your life for a little while, and leave you wanting more. 

Without sounding dramatic, from the moment I set eyes on the very first page, I was hooked. Karen begins The Vineyard with a fantastic tease that really takes a hold of you, making all sorts of questions pop up in your mind. Lizzie, whose point of view the entirety of the story is written from, is in a cab, panicking and almost losing her mind because she is about to be dropped off at her mother's, whom she hasn't set eyes on in just over five years. As a reader, I was drawn to this tidbit of information and suddenly wanted to know all of the details; how, what and why. My mind came alive with all these different scenarios that could have happened between Lizzie and her mother, and I just couldn't wait to find out the story behind the two characters. Karen really brought this first scene to life, and she put so much emphasis on the fact that Lizzie didn't want to be there; Karen described Lizzie's rapidly beating heart, the way sweat began to prickle her skin and Karen even had the weather pitch in by brewing up a dark sky with dangerous clouds. As far as opening chapters go, The Vineyard's was superb and it well and truly had me wanting to continue on with the story, without a doubt. 

Karen's characters in The Vineyard were fabulous and all of them seemed incredibly easy to like. With Lizzie being the main character, she was introduced first and I loved the fact that she didn't have an easy, care-free life behind her. She had regrets and problems and these were clearly indicated by the now stormy atmosphere between Lizzie and her mother, but this atmosphere added a hell of a lot of depth to Lizzie's persona and I loved it. I can't say that Lizzie was broken and damaged beyond repair though, because she was actually a successful young woman who owned a beauty salon in Cannes. Not only this, but Lizzie also had a son too, and I adored how Karen described the moments where it was just mother and son. All the added details deemed Lizzie as a fantastic mother who really took an interest in her child, wanting nothing more than the best for him, and ensuring that he had a perfect, care-free life. Karen's writing style and technique shone through particularly well in these parts and I enjoyed the mother and son moments throughout the entire story. 

Another character who played a major role in The Vineyard was Lizzie's mother, Caroline. I have to admit, when she opened the door to her daughter in the opening chapter, I had this image of the evil witch from Sleeping Beauty in my mind, horns and all! Lizzie was panicking that much before she had even reached her mother's doorstep, I was imagining some huge, horrifying monster to open the door. I have to admit, I was a little confused as to the reception that Lizzie received from her mother when they set eyes on each for the first time in years, because of this huge build up beforehand, but that's okay because Lizzie was also confused too. Again, I was hooked, and I badly wanted to know what the hell had happened between them! I think when Caroline opened the door, I was straightaway suspicious and waiting for her to start spitting venom. Strangely, she didn't, and I guess Caroline and Lizzie meeting again for the first time in just over five years was really where this beautiful story began. 

As well as these two ladies, there was also the gorgeous, caring and considerate Cal, too. God, I loved this guy. He was just so sweet and genuine, and everything that you'd ever want or need in a man. Karen created instant chemistry between Cal and Lizzie, something that always makes a story sizzle and pop which I thoroughly enjoyed, but there was also a dilemma concerning Cal too. I kinda' guessed what was going to happen before it did, but it took nothing away from the enjoyment of reading the story and I couldn't stop the grin that spread across my face from cheek to cheek. Cal was one of those guys that the word "gentleman" describes perfectly. He was just so calm and easy-going, hell, even I felt calmer when he re-entered during a chapter, and that's saying something, right? 

With a mix of fabulous characters and a well put together and dramatic plot, The Vineyard was the perfect story to lose myself in. Lizzie had some tough times during the story and it was brilliant to go through these hard times with her, experiencing the ups and downs just as she did. Not only does The Vineyard's plot develop beautifully, but there is an undercurrent of emotional trauma that reduced me to a blubbering mess. It was just so freaking magnificent, I still can't find the right words to use within this review. 

I'm going to finish off by rating The Vineyard by Karen Aldous with five yummy looking cupcakes! A moving story that held my heart in its hands. I would gladly re-read this one again and again, without a doubt! Thank you so much, Karen, and I am really looking forward to any future titles from you.




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