- Book: In Just One Day
- Location: Hampshire, Venice
- Author: Helen McGinn
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%).
That annoyance notwithstanding – and it’s not the author’s fault – overall, this is a sad, heartwarming and very readable novel.