07 September 2014

Wine and Roses by Augusta Li

 Mage Yarroway L’Estrella decided the Battle of the Starlight Bridge when he summoned fire from the heavens. The blaze decimated much of the vineyard that has been in Alain Lamont’s family for nine generations. Mountain Shadow Winery may no longer be able to support Alain’s family or the dozens of others who call it home, but Alain vows not to fail all those depending on him.

Mercenary Fabrezio Orvina d’Caelus, Breeze to his friends, appreciates Alain taking him in when he’s badly wounded after the battle, but he has no intention of living the dull life of a farmer any longer than necessary. Though he likes the vintner, he sees Alain as soft and sheltered, hardly a man who can understand a warrior’s calling.

As they live and work together, Alain realizes Breeze isn’t exactly the amoral opportunist he suspected, and Breeze sees more strength in Alain than he thought possible of a simple winemaker. Life on the estate is richer and less boring than Breeze first imagined. With ingenuity, courage, and cooperation, they may devise a way to revitalize the vineyard and move beyond the pain and loss of their pasts.

I absolutely loved this book! This is the first book I have read from this author and I am going to have to find more of these gems.  From the beginning I loved the sweet and simple vintner, Alain.  He has lived a hard life and yet pushes ever forward.  He does not ask much of life but to watch his niece, nephew and grapes grow.  All of this is changed when a horrible fiery rain falls from the sky and burns his dreams to the ground.  Just when he thinks all is lost he finds a very badly burned mercenary named Breeze.

As Alain nurses Breeze back to health he finds strength within himself that he never thought he could possess.  He has always lived a simple life and made very conservative choices to preserve that simple life, but he has to learn to take a chance if he wants to truly enjoy all that life offers. 

Mr. Li spins a story of love, loyalty, duty and joy.  When you trim away all the excess, what is at your core, what is at your essence that you will fight to keep?  I am so excited that this is the beginning of a series because I desperately want to delve deeper into this world of medieval magic and fantasy.


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