A few years ago, a reader declared she would read only novels written by South Africans and set in South Africa for a year. I always admire people who have these brave reading missions. I know I couldn't do it. What if I (gasp) stopped reading because (heart palpitation) it wasn't fun anymore?
This book made me want to abandon writers from countries abroad. It is that good.
Love and Wine is set in our fairest Cape of Good Hope. The novel is as beautiful as the setting.
Helen Shaw is an artist, come to recover from life and a bad relationship in Uncle Alec’s sea-facing cottage on the craggy Atlantic side of the peninsula. She swims in the icy ocean, coffees in the quaint bistro and walks the dog with a friend on the beach.
Helen ventures out and meets Max, a wine farmer from Franschhoek, and it isn't long before Helen is found there - painting the picturesque scenery and sipping the glossy red wines.
I loved the vivd imagery, the dark secrets haunting everyone, the fullness of life and love, each soul tinged with pain, broken in some form, yet reaching out in the hope of connection and healing.
This is perfect for book clubs. It is rich in beauty, yet has caverns of mystery you will want to explore. I’m no sommelier, but if you give me a glass of red that I love, I’m torn between savouring it slowly and gulping it greedily, so you refill my glass. This is that book.
Paula Marais, can you please stop your life and write some more to keep me reading? About 80 books should do - for a year. I’m off to dig out The Punishment and Shadow Self in the meantime.