Valley Fever; Katherine Taylor
Farrar, Straus & Giroux - 2015
INTRO---"I don't return to places I've lived. I avoid my high school dorm by not going back to all of Massachusetts. In London, I'll avoid Holland Park so as not to be reminded of the basement flat on Addison Road. The furnished two-bedroom on Via Annia in Rome, the bright studio in the white brick building on West Eighty-fourth Street with floor-to-ceiling bookshelves, the two bedroom in Prenzlauer Berg I shared with a publishing-heiress insomniac who would speak only Russian: some of those places were good for a while. Still, whole neighborhoods, whole cities can be ruined by the reasons you left."
It's probably not a good sign when you move across the country from NY to CA to be with your significant other and less than a year later he tells you, "I think I only love you when I'm drunk." Such is the situation for Ingrid Palameade who hasn't had the best of luck with relationships.
With her sister Annie coming to her rescue at the airport after this latest breakup, she takes Ingrid back to her home to think about her life over the last (10) years since she finished college. Why has she moved from place to place and relationship to relationship? With some hesitation Ingrid decides to return home to her family and their 20,000 acre vineyard around Fresno. Her father's health is failing, her mother is stuck in a rut and her uncle drinks a bit too much (wine goes well with every me
al). With her father's illness, Ingrid soon begins running the family business, and even connecting with friends from her past.
I had a tough time with this novel. The writing is mostly dialogue driven with almost no character development. It could have been so much better if there was more of a plot progression and subsequent resolution. One of the best features of the story was the way the story appealed to senses when the author describes the perfect conditions for wine making, facts about growing and harvesting almonds and CA agriculture in general. I thought the cover was pretty cool as well, but overall, this novel didn't work well for me.