Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Crushed, by Deborah Coonts

Kindle Edition, March 2016

Sophia Otero Stone has lived most of her life putting her dreams to one side to raise her children, support her husband, and now, to care for her aging mother. Those dreams center around making wine, and she has been growing grapes--excellent grapes, grapes developed from her own father's varietals in the Italian village of Friuli. But her husband Daniel died five years ago, and she's been working for Butchy Pinkman, a new-money guy in Napa Valley. His ambitions extend mainly to making a successful, popular, cheap table wine, Pink's Passion. And it is successful and popular. It's just not the wine Sophia wants to be making.

But Daniel had always refused to buy their home, insisting renting was a better deal. And land values have risen dramatically in the few years since his death, with the new money moving in. Sophia's home and land--with her grandfather's grapes--has been sold, and she's gotten thirty days' notice.

She's going to lose everything she cares about if she can't find a way out in thirty days.

There's not much time, and the buyers are ruthless. And Sophia doesn't have many allies, and the ones she has don't have any greater resources than she does.

Coonts does a marvelous job of taking this situation and ramping up the tension while keeping the characters and the situations real. When Sophia hears that the new guy in her life, fellow/rival winemaker Nico Treviani, has apparently betrayed a vital secret to those after her land and grapes, she listens to his side of the story! Just like the intelligent, reasonable person she's supposed to be!

Sophia, Nico, her daughter Dani and son Trey, and Nico's nieces Brooklyn and Taryn, are all interesting and complicated and real. Even the bad guys are believably, humanly bad.

Recommended.

I received a free electronic galley of this book from the author.