Book Review: The Lost Vintage, written by Ann Mah

Looking for a good book for your next beach vacation?

Ann Mah, food and travel writer has written a fiction novel, The Lost Vintage, © 2018 published by William Morrow, An Imprint of Harper Collins Publishers, New York, NY.

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As a food and travel writer living in both Washington, D.C. and Paris, France, Mah’s knowledge of France and French wines lend credibility to her writing.

“Told with elegance and deep compassion, The Lost Vintage is an unforgettable tale about balancing the ideals of courage with the harsh realities of survival, sustaining love for family in the face of shattering disappointment, and reconciling the deeds of the past with the values of the present.” – from the book jacket, The Lost Vintage.

While this is a work of fiction, the story reflects on the harsh reality of survival in WWII in France during the Nazi occupation and one family’s discovery of their ancestor’s involvement in the resistance and collaboration with the Nazi’s.

The Lost Vintage – les gouttes d’or “Drops of Gold”

Kate, who has built a career as a sommelier in San Francisco is studying for the Master of Wine examination for the third and final attempt. If she wants to advance her career, she must pass the examination, but has carefully avoided Burgundy vintages – some of the best wines her family has been making for generations. She returns to France to help her cousin, Nico and his wife, Heather with the annual harvest and to brush up her knowledge of Burgundy wines. There, she and Heather stumbles upon a hidden cave underneath the estate while cleaning the basement. In the cave is a remarkable inventory of vintage wines dating back prior to the start of WWII. The wine is worth a fortune. But why has it been kept hidden? Who knows of its’ existence?

The Journals of Helene Marie Charpin

The author takes the reader back in time to Kate’s ancestors, particularly, Helene Marie Charpin who they do not want to believe was a collaborator with the Nazi’s. After all, no living relative will speak of Helene. What happened to Helene? Was she part of the resistance or a collaborator? Did she survive the war? Kate becomes consumed with finding out the truth about her ancestors. Yet the deadline for her to return to San Francisco to continue her studies for her final attempt to pass the Masters of Wine exam is fast approaching.

Not only does the author, Ann Mah take the reader on a fascinating journey in history, but weaves together hard truths about family, self and country. Readers who love history, mystery, love stories, and wine will want to read The Lost Vintage. It is a book the reader will not want to put down! Ann Mah is masterful in her telling the tale of Helene.

Five Hoot Rating!

The Lost Vintage, by author, Ann Mah receives a 5-Hoot Rating on a scale of 1 to 5.5 Hoot Rating

Happy Reading!

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(c) 2017-2019 All Rights Reserved

Review: The Hideaway by Laura K. Denton

The Hideaway

Lauren K. Denton’s first novel, The Hideaway published by Thomas Nelson, Nashville, TN, a registered trademark of HarperCollins Christian Publishing Inc. is a USA Today bestseller and recommended by The Blogging Owl.

After her grandmother, Margaret “Mags” Van Buren dies, Sara Jenkins returns home to Sweet Bay, Alabama from her life as an interior designer and shop keeper in New Orleans. Sara is the only living family member and heir to her grandmother’s shabby bed and breakfast home, The Hideaway.

Sara’s journey will resonate with many readers as it did with me.

How well do we know or understand family?

Do we really want or need to know our family legacy?

Are we always sure of where we belong?

How can we be sure of our decisions?

Lauren Denton’s simple storytelling of a young woman finding her place in life and in love is a wonderful first novel. It is only after reading the novel that the reader can appreciate the beauty of the author’s writing. There are many lessons sweetly planted and nurtured in the author’s first novel, The Hideaway about family, love, legacy and home.

I am looking forward to reading her second novel just released this past spring, Hurricane Season.

Hoot Rating

Genre:  Christian Books & Bibles > Literature & Fiction > Romance > Historical
Literature & Fiction > Genre Fiction > Small Town & Rural
Romance > Clean & Wholesome

On a scale of 1 to 5 HOOTS, The Hideaway by Laura K. Denton earns a 4 and 1/2 hoot rating.

1 to 5 Hoot Scale - 4-half stars

Happy Reading!

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Any Book Recommendations?

Hoot at me by email: Hoot@TheBloggingOwl.com. I would love it if you would follow this blog and at The Blogging Owl on Facebook, as well as, on Twitter @TheBloggingOwl.

(c) 2017-2018 All Rights Reserved

Review: Forged in Crisis, The Power of Courageous Leadership in Turbulent Times, written by Nancy Koehn

Each of us will be faced with a crisis at some point in our lives. We will either lead or be led through it. Either way, author Nancy Koehn in her first book for popular audience identifies five ordinary individuals in history who persevere through their own crisis to become the leaders we are to emulate or who we would be wise look for to lead us.

Forged in Crisis, The Power of Courageous Leadership in Turbulent Times, written by Nancy Koehn and published by Scribner, An Imprint of Simon & Schuster, Inc. is a must read.

Forged in CrisisThe author, Nancy Koehn

On CBS’ Face the Nation television program on November 26, 2017, the program gathered a leadership panel of four authors, Ron Chernow, Mark Updegrove, Robert Dallek and Nancy Koehn to discuss their new books on leadership. As my husband and I sat there sipping our morning coffee, I marveled at the contrast between the Nancy Koehn and the other authors. Ms. Koehn spoke with such passion and enthusiasm (when given the chance) about not only the topic of leadership, but the historical leaders upon which her book is based.

“I must read her book!” I commented to my husband to which I thought I had given a strong enough indicator for a great Christmas gift… obviously, I was wrong. I purchased the gift myself shortly after the Christmas holiday.

As written on the back flap of the book cover, Nancy Koehn is a historian at the Harvard Business School, where she holds the James E. Robison chair of Business Administration. She earned her MA and PhD degrees at Harvard and has coached leaders from many organizations.

Although Ms. Koehn is not a first-time author, Forged in Crisis is her first book as I mentioned previously for ordinary readers like myself. This is not the usual history book filled with dense detail proving the author knows their stuff and the reader is forced to slog their way through, but one cleverly written in rich reverence that swept me off my feet into the world in which her subjects lived.

“Are you ready to hear the call to action contained in each of these stories? Ernest Shackleton, Abraham Lincoln, Frederick Douglass, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, and Rachel Carson have something important to offer each of us right now, as we try to craft lives of purpose, dignity, and impact. Read these stories and get to work. The world has never needed you and other real leaders more than it does now.” Page 9, Introduction

To say that I inhaled the words on the pages is an understatement.

From the first page of the Introduction to the last page of the Acknowledgements I was captivated by Ms. Koehn’s writing prowess, imagery and historical knowledge to show me how these five individuals who came from different circumstances were made to lead through the crisis at hand.

“For all the diversity among these five individuals, the threads that connect them are considerably more important. The most obvious is that these leaders were made, not born.” P437

As she shares each of their unique life stories, Ms. Koehn weaves together these threads into a remarkable tapestry the reader should view today. Throughout each chapter and particularly near the end of the chapter she coaches the reader on the relevancy of the information she presents.

The familiar and the unfamiliar

The book began with a written portrait of polar explorer, Ernest Shackleton and the book ends with ecologist, Rachel Carson. While I may not have remembered Ernest Shackleton from history class, I do remember the impact of Rachel Carlson even though I did not recognize her name. Raised on a farm in southeast Michigan, I am all too familiar with the use and the effects of the poison, DDT in the early 1970’s. The use of DDT in the military and in farming for weed control would be the reason my stepfather believed was the culprit of his multiple myeloma in which he ultimately succumbed to in 2007.

The stories of their bravery and leadership were just as intriguing as the familiar stories as the other three leaders she includes in her book. Yet even in the familiar stories of these other three individuals, Ms. Koehn breathes new insight and a fresh perspective to the historical figures of President Abraham Lincoln, Abolitionist Frederick Douglass and Pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer.

What makes a leader? Read Forged in Crisis and then let us have our own discussion!

Conclusion: The Power of Courageous Leadership

I find it almost prophetic on Ms. Koehn’s part to have started her work on this book project over 10 years ago and have its’ debut at such a crucial time in our history today. While I encourage readers to begin reading Forged in Crisis from page one of the Introduction to the end of the Acknowledgements, let me just say the last chapter and especially the Acknowledgements chapter give the reader an impressive glimpse into this author’s amazing research to bring what she terms her “literary child” into this world for readers to not only learn about the qualities of leadership we must all pursue but to enjoy stepping back in time to read about these fascinating historical individuals.

Judging by her impressive Harvard credentials and career, the author is no doubt a leader as a historian and leadership coach, but in this reader’s humble opinion, Nancy Koehn became an even greater leader forged from her own crisis in this ten-year writing journey. I only wish I could have been one of her students at Harvard.

Forged in crisis page markersI have page markers throughout this reference treasure, Forged in Crisis, The Power of Leadership in Turbulent Times that my husband, Vinny Sal will just have to buy his own copy (or maybe a gift for Father’s Day.)

Hoot Rating

Genre: Historical Memoirs, Business & Economics, Politics & Government

On a scale of 1 to 5 Hoots, Forged in Crisis, The Power of Courageous Leadership in Turbulent Times, written by Nancy Koehn earns an enthusiastic 5-Hoot Rating.

1 to 5 Hoot Scale

Happy Reading!

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The Blogging Owl

 

Any Book Recommendations?

Give me a hoot here at Hoot@TheBloggingOwl.com. I would love it if you would follow this blog and at The Blogging Owl on Facebook, as well as, on Twitter @TheBloggingOwl.

(c) 2017-2018 All Rights Reserved