Book Title: The Vines We Planed

Author: Joanell Serra

Genre: Contemporary Drama/Fiction

Note:  I received a free review from the author.

My Synopsis: This book follows the lives of 3 main families.  These families are intertwined and connected to one another in more ways than one.

We follow Amanda’s family, through her adoption, and her parent’s unconventional marriage.  We follow Jim, Amanda’s father through his fight for his health.

We follow Yuri and his heartbreak at losing Amanda once, the love of his life when she walked out on him.  Yuri then later also loses his wife after only being married for a short nine months.  Yuri loses his wife to a car accident.

We also follow Gloria and her family struggles with being a single mother due to a husband who is often absent in their son’s life.

My Review: There are many different themes introduced and covered in this book.  The story deals with some very heavy issues:  family, divorce, adoption, bisexuality, betrayal, forgiveness, depression leading to suicide attempts, and even immigration. This book is jam packed with so much family drama, it will totally fill your emotions, and pull at your heart strings.

If I had to choose one word, and one word only to describe this book, then that one word would be BEAUTIFUL.

EVERYTHING about this book was beautiful!  The characters are beautifully written. The premises are beautifully described. The plot was beautifully constructed. The writing style flowed beautifully as each character is given his or her opportunity to describe the details of their lives to the reader.

I also love the deep passion that was written throughout this book.  The passion for what Amanda does for a living, and the passion she has for her adoptive parents.  I love the passion Yuri has for his line of work, tending horses, and his passion for working in the family vineyards.  I also loved the passion in the family’s relationships in general.

The book was so FRESH. Often making many references of meals being made from fresh picked vegetables, and I especially loved the reference to the Portuguese cooking, oh the Caldo Verde a popular Portuguese soup reference made my mouth water.  This made me want to head straight to the market to buy fresh items to prepare a home cooked meal for my own family. This is that type of book!

Along side the daily struggles there was always that one fresh crisp cold glass of wine to help soothe the troubles of the day away. I could almost smell the aroma from the grapes seeping through the pages.   The book however in no way exploited wine drinking or offered it as a solution to the problems covered in this book, and I found this fascinating.

As I try to think about my favourite characters I realize that I cannot choose just one. I think this is a first for me.  I don’t ever recall reading a book before where I loved ALL the characters so equally.   Every character was captivating, relatable, believable.   To choose just one would be an injustice to the other wonderfully written characters.

My heart cried for Jim, living his life in a lie and feeling like he had to live this lie to sacrifice his own happiness for his family’s happiness.

My heart broke for Amanda constantly throughout, with all that she endures and discovers about her family.

My heart shattered for Elena, for her depression and choices she makes.

My heart ached for Yuri, at discovering his own truths, but as painful as these truths are, they only made him stronger.

Every character in this book had a wonderfully well written part and story to tell the reader.

Closing Thoughts: This book is most definitely a FIVE STAR!  I enjoyed this book very much, so much so that I LOVED it.  I was captured and pulled in, right away.

If you are looking for a book that will hook you, and destroy your emotions, but in a good way, you MUST read this book now.  Happy Reading, for I know that you WILL love it.

Congratulations Joanell on a GREAT debut novel!

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