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Novel set mainly in Hampshire (and Venice)

26th October 2021

In Just One day by Helen McGinn, novel set mainly in Hampshire (and Venice).

Novel set mainly in Hampshire (and Venice)

Wine connoisseurship: “Sipping without sniffing is like looking at a picture with one eye closed…

In this novel you learn quite a lot about wine. You will discover that along with the Valpolicella and the Chianti wines, there is also a wine that is local to the Veneto, to wit Custoza. The author is a wine expert and you can really sense her passion for viticulture and the end product because at the heart of the novel is a wine shop. Her expertise shines through.

Flora and Johnny have hit a bleak patch in their lives, and taking over a wine shop is certainly a leap of faith. Then, if their life situation isn’t bad enough, a cataclysmic event happens that knocks them for six. Really, in just one single day -a single minute even – everything that feels familiar and reassuring can change.

This is a story of family and relationships with drama and tragedy at its heart. It can be read in an afternoon and it transports you to a life amongst the wine cognoscenti, with a delightful side trip to Venice.

Part way into the narrative, another family is introduced, whose members come to influence the storyline and I felt it was a change in tack that came a little too suddenly. Such dropped-in introductions always leave me feeling a bit discombobulated, that I have missed something, so I would have loved to see a smoother transition.

As an aside: You know, Venice – on the front cover and all – only features across 32 pages (of a total of 273, that’s 12%). Much like The Affair, touted to be set in Lake Como, which has a similar paucity of pages devoted to that particular locale (just 7% of the book is set in Como).  The main setting in that novel is the West Country and Europe, yet Lake Como is used as the hook to pull readers in: “Escape to Lake Como in this summer’s most emotionally gripping holiday” – yeah, right. It’s just misleading and frankly annoying when publishers do this!

That annoyance notwithstanding – and it’s not the author’s fault – overall, this is a sad, heartwarming and very readable novel.

Tina for the TripFiction Team

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