Staying is an option. She can continue to work at the winery, be friends with her mother-in-law, hug her nieces and nephews—but as an employee, nothing more. Or she can surrender every piece of her heart in order to build a legacy of her own.
If she can dare to let go of the life she thought she wanted, she might discover something even more beautiful waiting for her beneath a painted moon.
Synopsis from Goodreads
Thank you to Harlequin and NetGalley for sending me an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
I've never read a Susan Mallery book before, so I was excited to start this one after reading the synopsis. I ended up reading it in one sitting because I couldn't wait to see where the story ended! While a story about divorce sounds sad, this is really a book about characters learning to let go and find their inner strength to chase their dreams instead of simply going through the motions of life. I ended up loving this book and wish there was more to read about these characters!
Main Characters are Excellent
Mackenzie, the Barcellona siblings, and Bruno are all such great characters! I loved that we got the perspectives of all the women in the novel (except for Lori - oh, poor Lori) because it added a nice depth to each of them. Their relationships with Barbara and each other is so important in this book, so it's great that we get a lot of insight here. I do wish that we had spent more time with Stephanie and Mackenzie's romances (we are told about them in the epilogue), but I understand that the point of this novel is them figuring out how to let go of their pasts, not necessarily them falling in love again.
Love the Vineyard Setting
As someone who isn't a fan of vine (or most alcohol - I hate the flavour), I always seems to love books that are based in vineyards. There's something so romantic about rows and rows of grapes that will be turned into wine. I think it's the history of how wine is made that continues to fascinate me and romance novels that take place on vineyards always capture my attention. In this case, Mackenzie's journey from the winemaker for the Barcellona family to being her own boss is lovely to witness and I loved seeing her excitement in starting this new adventure. As someone with no knowledge of how wine is made, I was thoroughly convinced that Mallery knows her stuff and that Mackenzie truly is a winemaker.
Barbara Needs More Development
Sadly, the character who needed the most development is the character that should've been the strongest. As the antagonist of the story, Barbara's role should've grown to the dramatic climax of the story. Instead, she her actions simply seem pointless and irrational with the final meeting between her and Mackenzie being very anti-climatic. I was expecting a lot more drama from her, but she continued to fall short of what her role called for. I would've loved to have a better understanding of her motivations (maybe we needed to know more about her past to understand why she's like this in the present?) or seen more dramatic actions taken by her to give that final confrontation the intensity it deserved.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book! This was my first time reading Susan Mallery and I'm excited that this is the book I started with. I'd recommend The Vineyard at Painted Moon to fans of Mallery, Nora Roberts, and Susan Elizabeth Phillips, or to readers who enjoy multiple female perspectives and slow burn romances.
Have you read The Vineyard at Painted Moon? What did you think of it?
FINAL RATING: 4/5
Hi, I'm Alexandra! I love reading (largely YA fiction, but sometimes I'll read "adult" books), playing board games, Nutella, and binge-watching TV shows on Netflix with my husband.
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