Blackberry Wine – Book Review

As a fan of contemporary literature, I love a good story. Over the years I have developed a taste for narratives that are complex, well told and written in short chapters. This week I want to share a book which has all of these elements and many more.

BlackBerry Wine – Delicious and Tempting

This story is about Jay Mackintosh and is partly told through the lens of a bottle of long-brewed wine which he holds dear to him. His ‘specials’ (the wine bottles) remind him of his childhood stays at his grandparents’ where he explored the northern landscapes and befriended an old man who was filled with tall tales and gardening tips. He also made homemade blackberry wine.

Now, Jay has decided to follow his dream and move to a quaint village in France -Lansquenet- where he bought a run-down farm house and began writing another book. His big selling novel was several years earlier and he hadn’t been able to replicate that book for lack of ideas.

In Lansquenet (also a setting for the Chocolat novels) he finds a split family with a mysterious rift. He also makes friends with the initially suspicious locals. When an ex arrives from England to mix things up, Jay has a wake up call that changes his outlook on things.

Haunted by memories of the intriguing old man, Joe, he finds himself torn between memories, hopes and emotional awakening.

In A Nutshell

As always, Joanne has written a narrative which is fascinating, warm and full of twists and turns. It is not a thriller but sits well as a strong drama. The story is carefully written, with elements which seem unrelated but then become clearly woven together in a satisfying way.

Final Thoughts

Check out Blackberry Wine and see for yourself. Even though it was published in 2000 it is still highly relevant, really entertaining and well worth reading with a coffee on a rainy day (I say this as rain is going to soon be the most common type of weather in the UK – thanks climate change). Please comment your own thoughts on this book and share if possible.

To learn more about Joanne Harris’ books, visit her author website.

For another of my book review posts, check out my thoughts on Three Wishes by Australian author Liane Moriarty.

If you have Kindle Unlimited, perhaps you would like to check out my original short stories. I would appreciate some reads to celebrate the fourth birthday of my book Short Dates. Thank you so much for checking out my bookish blog,

What I Am Proud Of In 2022

Antwerp – a winter break

This has been a very busy year for me as I am sure it has for you. Work has been hectic but I have managed to go from a five day week to a four day one, freeing up a little more time for writing and blogging. As well as this I have started to travel again. Here are some of my 2022 highlights.

– Being involved in the establishment of the Climate Change Collective. This group of bloggers is writing monthly posts about global warming and spreads the word about how people can become more environmentally considerate.

– Travelling around Northern Europe by train. In summer I was lucky enough to visit Amsterdam and Copenhagen. I also took day trips to Sweden and stopped off briefly in Bremen. To finish the year a wonderful visit to Antwerp was a brilliant finale.

– Releasing my YA book, ‘Being Watched.’ I loved writing this story which began life as a short story in my self published book ‘Short Dates’ back in 2018. A snippet from my YA Novel.

– Another trip that excited me was a little break in Edinburgh back at Easter. I wrote this guest post about the experience: Edinburgh – A Reader’s Dream .

– I have loved becoming a member of the wonderful blogging community. This year I have continued to expand my blog slowly and begun writing content for Medium.

– Somehow I have managed to keep up some basic fitness workouts during the year. Using the Own Your Own Goals Davina app I have kept going with aerobics, dance, combat and yoga. My personal faves are the aerobics workouts.

– I had a new kitchen installed and did more cooking than ever before.

I have achieved quite a lot this year. I am grateful to all the people I have collaborated with and appreciate all of the support I have got for the blog. My intention is to keep going with my Youtube channel next year and do plenty of travelling by train, possible starting with Basel and Geneva. Thank you for taking the time to read my blog. Please consider following my blog for more of the same.

Love Winter – An Extract

This is a snippet of an ongoing story that I began on Wattpad. It is a Christmas YA story that I hope to expand.

It was reassuring to see the first snowflakes fall onto the roof of the school hall as Jake sat munching his way through a Cornish Pasty, trying to avoid eye contact with the rugby lads. His thoughts drifted to Christmas movies and snowmen and festive music. Overcome by a combination of Mariah’s famous anthem and Wham’s ‘Last Christmas’, Jake’s eyes glazed over. Just as he was getting immersed in the Christmas spirit, Dan snapped him out of it.

“You coming to the Common Room to play cards?”

“Oh. (Rubbing his eyes) Is it a high stakes game?’

“Sure. Same as always. Roxy is being croupier. She is pretty fair.”

Jake’s eyes widened and his back straightened. He loved it when Roxy was in charge.

“OK. Just give me five mins to finish this and I’ll be there in a bit.”

Dan stole a chip from Jake’s plate and changed the subject.

“You know Roxy isn’t just clever, she’s pretty hot too!”

“I’ve never looked at her that way,” replied Jake, with his mouth still churning pastry.

“I was thinking last night, we need to start growing some balls and asking people out. Girls aren’t only interested in muscly rugby guys.” Dan looked at them, unimpressed.

Jake didn’t say anything else on the matter but couldn’t help but notice the way that Dan studied the lads with envy. They were currently throwing peanuts in the air and catching them in their mouths. Their loyal fans were cheering them on, including a table of swooning girls across the canteen. Jake couldn’t help wonder what was so captivating.

Jake suddenly stood up with confidence.

“Right. Let’s go for it. I have a tenner on me. What about you?”

“Same here,” sad Dan as he picked up Jake’s drink and recycled it for him. Jake emptied his tray and didn’t look back. He was in the mood for a gamble and now that Dan had made him think more about it, it wouldn’t hurt to take the chance to impress Roxy. Because yes… she was pretty special. Out of his league maybe, but definitely unique. Far better than the rugby swooners.

Thank you for taking the time to read my developing narrative. You can check out my Wattpad for other stories. Love Winter – Wattpad