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Review: 'Once Upon a Wine'

Romance novel excels at creating relationships

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By Stacie Gorkow, correspondent

Beth Kendrick has created a series of books all set in the same Delaware community. The other books in this series include “Cure for the Common Breakup,” “New Uses for Old Boyfriends,” and “Put a Ring on It.” Black Dog Bay, Delaware, is a beach community where women go to recuperate after jilted relationships, broken marriages, or in this case, to buy a winery.

Ginger has decided to fulfill one of her bucket list items by purchasing a winery. After surviving cancer, she realized there is no time like the present and purchased the Lost Dog Vineyard in Black Dog Bay. The only problem is she knows nothing about growing grapes or making wine. Her daughter, Kat, thinks her mom has gone over the deep end and calls her cousin Cammie to come and talk some sense into her mom. Cammie, ironically, has just lost her job waitressing at a fancy restaurant and is feeling like California isn’t for her anymore. She doesn’t have a place to live or a job, so she has nothing to lose. She packs up her belongings and heads to Delaware to see what her aunt has gotten herself into.

Coming to Black Dog Bay brings back memories for Cammie of one summer spent with Ian, a farmer that almost made her throw caution to the wind and embark on a new life ... almost. Kat, is trying to grasp a new life as well, as a retired skateboarder. A back injury has ended her career as a famous skateboarder and she is in the middle of an early midlife crisis trying to grasp the idea of being a suburban wife instead of a sports star.

Like the rest of Kendrick’s books, this one stands alone while revisiting some of the previous characters and locations in Black Dog Bay. It is full of the witty banter and hilarious antics of her previous books with a cover that grabs your attention on the shelf.

This lighthearted romance doesn’t focus on the physical part of the relationships, leaving out the sordid details and instead focusing on the relationships between the characters. This is Kendrick’s strength and why this series of books has been so successful. Readers care about the characters in the story, want them to recover, and be successful. Then each book connects back to those characters and reminds you that things can work out even after devastating failures.

Tuck “Once Upon a Wine” in your beach bag or carry on and finish out your summer with the ladies of Black Dog Bay and a glass of strawberry wine.

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