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Tuesday, March 15, 2022

Champagne Widows by Rebecca Rosenberg

Barbe Nicole was a young girl in the 1800s living in the Champagne area of France. Her mother was intent on her making a brilliant marriage but Barbe's sights were elsewhere with the boy whom she had grown up with her whole life. It was a turbulent time in France - Napoleon and all the new laws coming into effect and one had to be very careful whom one spoke to, associated with as a careless word in the wrong ears meant that all you've built up could be reduced to nothing. Barbe was unusual in one sense. She had inherited her grandmother's infamous nose and could smell anything from not just substances but from people and events. It was both a blessing and a curse. Barbe sadly becomes a young widow and despite the traditions of the time, takes on the vineyard with the idea of producing the best Champagne she could. She is supported by a group of like minded women in the same circumstances as her and with huge odds against her she pushes herself and her vineyard to do better and better. The wars which Napoleon entered into should have destroyed the luxury market, but strangely the demand for high quality champagne was still there and this is what she hedged her bets on. This was an interesting read, once again highlighting women's position in society which was generally not working well for the women. It worked very well for the men though. This was one women who turned tradition on its head, and worked for the betterment of her own life. It was a hard existence but it worked for her. I was rooting for Barbe throughout the story. A good bit of history in the form of Napoleon and his wars are part of the story as well. Sent by Lion Heart Publishing for an unbiased review, courtesy of Netgalley.

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