Grand Cru

Sandra Lee Stuart, Author Carol Publishing Corporation $18.95 (391p) ISBN 978-0-8184-0431-3
Beginning in 1851, this sweeping 30-year saga tells the story of siblings Guy and Solange Saint Savin, young French aristocrats whose goal is to produce the finest wine in Bordeaux while preserving the integrity of their estate, the famous Chateau du Clocher. The book gets off to a painfully lethargic start but gradually acquires momentum with a steady infusion of political intrigue and spirited romance. The director of the influential Banque Libermann, Baron Jerome Libermann, covets the Chateau du Clocher, and manages to arrange Guy's arrest and deportation on a trumped-up charge of treason. Guy barely manages to escape to San Francisco, where, after a brutally unsuccessful year as a prospector, he discovers the natural resources of the Napa Valley and begins his own vineyard. Solange, only 16 when Guy flees the country, finds a protector in Jerome Libermann's worldly but avuncular brother Nathan, who gives her a marriage of convenience as well as his shrewd advice and influence at court. Although the fiery protagonists have some appeal, the plot is stretched thin with a myriad of story lines, stock characters and a succession of leaden scenes. The author of The Last Chance Diet has tossed together history, politics, romance and textbook coverage of winemaking to produce a less-than-first-class brew. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 04/01/1989
Release date: 04/01/1989
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