Blush by Jamie Brenner (2021)
The Hollander Estates winery has been a family-run business for 50 years, but now they might be forced to sell it. However, three generations of Hollander women may be able to turn it around, with the help of some scandalous books. I really enjoyed this story! The characters were so well fleshed out and had such deep and complex backgrounds that I almost forgot I was reading a fictional novel. It was really interesting to see how matriarch Vivian, daughter Leah, and granddaughter Sadie wanted to save the family business, despite not being allowed major roles in it by patriarch Leonard, and how they bonded over "trashy" novels from the 1980s and were inspired by some of the characters. The three women showed strength and creativity while facing some tough decisions. And if you're a fan of wine and cheese, you're going to love all the lush descriptions of the different varieties and the wine-making process. 4 stars
The Wedding Dress by Rachel Hauck (2012)
Charlotte is supposed to be getting married soon, but she can't seem to summon the happiness and enthusiasm she thinks she should be experiencing. Then, she finds a perfectly preserved wedding dress in an old trunk - as she learns more about the history of the dress, and the three other women who wore it, she hopes she'll find some clarity in her own life. I really liked the idea of this novel - that there's this sort of magical dress, passed down through the years, and each bride has her own special story - but the execution was lacking a bit for me. The story mostly moves back and forth in time between Charlotte, in the present day, and Emily, the original bride from 100 years ago. The other two brides show up so much later in the story, and only for a relatively short time, that it was hard for me to connect to them. Emily's story was by far the most intriguing, so I enjoyed those chapters. Charlotte's story felt very slow and it was a little jarring that her love interest received a couple chapters from his own perspective, but I guess it helped explain his wildly swaying emotions. If you enjoy clean, sweet romances, this might be one for you to try. 3 stars
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