Tuesday, November 24, 2020

The Lost Vintage Book Review

Ann Mah's The Lost Vintage: A historical and modern-day tale of French food, culture, history, love and of course, wine. My review here.

I've visited World War II Europe in my readings on numerous occasions in books like Cilka's Journey, The Girl They Left Behind and The Nightingale. This month I revisited the era via Ann Mah's 2018 novel, The Lost Vintage. I enjoyed the trip though of course, the situation was not always a pleasant one. 

The Lost Vintage travels between current day California and France and World War II France, where one family did as best they could to survive the German occupation. 

Living on a prestigious wine domaine in the Burgundy region of France, they managed for a while to avoid drawing attention to themselves by keeping their heads down but eventually they were drawn into the war in one way or another. 

The mystery that drags the current generation down in the modern day part of the book is whether or not members of the family were Nazi collaborators or members of the resistance.  The idea that our ancestors were on the right side of history is an interesting one that cannot be true for all of us.

Because this book is well written, I had no problem switching back and forth between the different time periods. I was a bit less enthusiastic about the inclusion of the occasional French phrase, sometimes translated and sometimes not. I expect the French was included to give a French feeling to the book and translation is not necessary but I did find the practice intrusive.

As the back of the book says, this story contains a mystery, a love story and of course, a history lesson.  It is packed with French food, culture and of course, wine. It is well written and it is easy to read. If you enjoy historical fiction, wine and/or reading about France, I believe that you will enjoy The Lost Vintage. You may even find yourself needing to read "just one more chapter", wanting to drink a bit of wine and desiring a trip to France.

Without giving away the secrets of this book, I will mention that it deals with a little discussed part of the story of France. That is, what happened to French women when the country was liberated from the Germans. French women were often treated as traitors and found guilty without a trial by what was really mob justice. No allowances were made for varying situations like the difference between women who slept willingly with German soldiers and those who were raped. 

This book comes HIGHLY RECOMMENDED by me. You can buy your copy of The Lost Vintage from Amazon by clicking right here.

See you
at the bookstore!

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas movie reviewed.

Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate, Ebay (EPN) and/or Esty (Awin) Affiliate, I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


  1. It's always rather interesting to read a book that flits back & forth between a 'time that was' and 'today's time'. Especially Historical fiction, which is usually based on true facts. Present day situations are often influenced by the past, which always makes history fascinating and learning about it - necessary.

    BTW, it wasn't until I read your review and also looked at the story synopsis on Amazon that I "Got" what the title meant. :)

  2. It sounds like a book that would make you sit back and think. As you mentioned, we all have family that has been on the right side (as we see it) and family that was/is on the wrong side. Americans know from our own Civil War that families are divided by differing allegiances. Whats more, people who regionally live in an area defend their home whether they agree with the war or not. So often, survival is the immediate focus, yet hindsight (and those who didn't have to make those choices) is extremely judgemental. How I wish we could all learn from other's experience without having to repeat history so often.

    1. Yes, let's learn from past experience and not repeat history, at least bad history!

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. Brenda, this is another book that will go on my must read list. I love this period of time and the stories that have come out of it. Like you I have read many on your list and enjoyed each one. These books shed some light onto the hard times that many countries suffered during that time period. I hope we never see the likes of that again. Thanks for your review!

    1. Yes, Olivia, I hope we never see the likes of World War II again!

  5. I'm curious about this book now. And yes, one more chapter and a glass of wine sounds just about right with this story as per your review. You really drew me in here! You've done the author justice. So many excellent book reviews here on reviewthisreviews.

  6. So many families were forced to make horrific, impossible choices during the Nazi occupation. How can someone from a different time, who has never had to make that type of choice, sit in judgment of the poor souls who were forced to choose between two unbearable choices? This sounds like a fascinating and very thought-provoking book. Thank you for sharing it, and your review.


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