The comments to last week’s post got me thinking about the books I review on my blog and how I go about deciding which books to review. Here’s what I concluded: when I tell readers about a specific book, I shouldn’t really call that post a “book review” because I’m not a book reviewer. I’m just a reader who loves to share the books I think are great.
In other words, if I enjoy a book and I think there are other people out there who would enjoy reading it, too, then I’ll recommend it and write about it. If I read a book and don’t enjoy it, you won’t find it on my blog.
I keep it to myself. I know very well how a writer feels to read a less-than-positive review, and I’m not going to ruin another writer’s day by writing one.
So from now on, my book reviews will be called “book recommendations.” That’s because I won’t review a book that I can’t recommend.
That takes care of the housekeeping issues for this week. Let’s move on to the real reason for today’s post: my recommendation of A Vintage Caper by Peter Mayle.
I loved this book!
As its title suggests, this book is a caper, not a hard-boiled thriller. It’s a story that contains a bit of a mystery. There is criminal activity, yes, but there’s no violence, no sex, and I think the limited amount of swearing is in French. It’s a fun, light-hearted story that doesn’t take long to read and that peels back aspects of French culture in a way that reveals much about the differences between France and America. I found these parts of the book to be especially interesting.
A Vintage Caper is the story of Sam Levitt, a former lawyer-turned-criminal-turned-good-guy who also happens to be a wine connoisseur. He is hired by an insurance company to investigate the theft of a fortune in wine from the cellar of prominent LA lawyer Danny Roth, a thoroughly unlikeable character who uses bullying and threats to get what he wants.
In his search for the wine, Levitt travels to Paris, Bordeaux, and Provence, following leads that he finds with the help of Sophie Costes, a Bordeaux-based agent specializing in wine insurance. Their job is to find the wine, but they manage to creat a twist that makes for a surprising and very satisfying ending.
Peter Mayle is the author of quite a few books about Provence, an area of France I’ve always wanted to visit– even more so now that I’ve read this book. His other books include A Year in Provence, Toujours Provence, Encore Provence, Provence A – Z, Anything Considered, Chasing Cezanne, Hotel Pastis, A Good Year, French Lessons, Up the Agency, The Marseille Caper, and A Dog’s Life. I want to read all of them!
If you do check out A Vintage Caper, let me know what you think of it. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
Until next week,
P.S. The release of The Ghosts of Peppernell Manor is less than a month away! Stay tuned for links to my guest blogs and interviews!