[I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.] Five cork salute for Marina Adair's sexy and fun Autumn in the Vineyard. May I say that the greatest benefit to reviewing is having the chance to be introduced to so many wonderful authors. I confess, I read a lot, so it still surprises me to discover authors and series I feel I should have known, because they are just so good.
Case in point (and gee, I wish it were a case of Frankie's wine) is Autumn in the Vineyard, book three in Marina Adair's St. Helena Vineyard novels. Set in the beautiful Napa Valley, St. Helena is a town dominated by two vineyard families - the Baudoins and the DeLucas - both of whom have been engaged in a feud since their grandparents time.
In books one and two (yes, I did read those first), we meet the four DeLuca brothers: Gabe, featured in [b:Kissing Under the Mistletoe|17558773|Kissing Under The Mistletoe (The Sullivans, #10)|Bella Andre|https://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1377022053s/17558773.jpg|24486680] with Regan Martin; Marco featured in [b:Summer in Napa|17171910|Summer in Napa (St. Helena Vineyard, #2)|Marina Adair|https://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1365681747s/17171910.jpg|23599374] with Lexi Moreau; Trey (to be featured in book four); as well as Nate, whose turn it is now to find love if he can overcome the longtime feud to forge a relationship with Frankie Baudouin.
First seen in Kissing Under the Mistletoe, Frankie is a kick-ass heroine. She wears steel-tipped boots, rides a bike (motorbike that is), and for relaxation kicks back and watches NASCAR. Oh yes, she is also an amazing vintner and ran her grandfather's winery until went against his wishes to save the day in Summer in Napa. Not only did she save the day, but she and and Nate also exchanged a very steamy kiss…
However, once her grandfather found out, she was out of the family business and essentially persona non grata. But Frankie is resourceful and winds up with a choice vineyard that's in fairly rough shape. The catch? It seems Nate and his brothers own it too. There is plenty of humor to be found and I absolutely love the alpaca, Mittens. Adair's description of the wineries and vineyards is fascinating, to the point I thought I'd look out my window and see rows of grapes. But her touch with romance is what is so engaging. We grow to really, really like her characters and, I have to say, I'd like to hang out with them.
Autumn in the Vineyard is a wonderful read. I will confess once I started reading this series I couldn't put it down and when I reached the last page of Autumn, I was quite sad. I wanted more. I didn't want to leave St. Helena, the three grandmother/aunts who meddle, the brothers and sister DeLuca, nor their wonderful wives. There's enough romance and steamy interludes to make you blush, but not faint. Plenty of humor and fun situations to find yourself chuckling out loud. But along the way there are some serious moments and times when you think, ah, I know what this feels like. So, I'm truly happy to let you know that you'll only have to wait till January for the next installment of the series, [b:Be Mine Forever|970531|Be Mine Forever (Forever Vampires #3)|Rosemary Laurey|https://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1348564409s/970531.jpg|955428] that features Trey DeLuca's story.
I'd recommend this series to readers who, like me, love Marie Force's McCarthy's of Gansett Island series or Susan Mallery's Fool's Gold or Blackberry Island novels. Adair has created a wonderful locale and a very believable community. And while each novel could be read as a stand-alone, I'd highly recommend reading them together. Five stars for a fun, fabulous read.
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