Blackberry Wine
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Blackberry Wine

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Description

Jay Mackintosh is trapped by memory in the old familiar landscape of his childhood, to which he longs to return. A bottle of home-brewed wine left to him by a long-vanished friend seems to provide the key to an old mystery. As the unusual properties of the strange brew take effect, Jay escapes to a derelict farmhouse in the French village of Lansquenet. There, a ghost from the past waits to confront him, and the reclusive Marise - haunted, lovely and dangerous - hides a terrible secret behind her closed shutters. Between them, a mysterious chemistry. Or could it be magic?show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 416 pages
  • 126 x 196 x 28mm | 220g
  • Transworld Publishers Ltd
  • Black Swan
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 0552998001
  • 9780552998000
  • 52,226

Review Text

Harris (Chocolat, 1999) returns with a charming fairy tale for grown-ups, including all those seductive elements of contemporary fantasies: a house in the French countryside, potions and healers with the power to transform, love that is always tender, if seldom convincing.Now in his 30s, Jay Mackintosh has failed to produce a successor to the acclaimed novel celebrating English village life that he wrote ten years ago. Jay puts bread on the table with science-fiction thrillers cranked out under a pseudonym, but otherwise he has a serious case of writer's block. Then one night Jay opens one of old Joe Cox's fruit wines and starts recalling the summers he spent working with Joe in his garden on Pog Hill in the former mining town of Kirby Monckton. Jay's lonely adolescent summers (his wealthy parents had separated) were transformed by meeting retired coal miner Joe, and these memories alternate with the sudden changes in his present life in London. The day after drinking the bottle of wine, Jay receives a brochure in the mail advertising a chteau for sale in the heart of the Dordogne. He thinks it's a sign from long-lost Joe, a healer, potion-maker, and fabulist who always talked of one day owning a ch teau in France. Energized, Jay buys the chteau, leaves London and girlfriend Kerry, and becomes the lord of a crumbling but promising French estate. There, he meets a colorful range of rural characters who soon make him feel welcome, but he's most intrigued by his neighbor, the beautiful but elusive young widow Marise, and her supposedly deaf daughter, Rosa. As Jay begins writing a new novel, clearing the property, and planting as his mentor had taught him, a disembodied Joe appears to counsel and criticize. Jay learns why the villagers shun Marise and, in a story that can only end well, finds the happiness he lost when Joe disappeared from Pog Hill 20 years ago.Sweet and lite. (Kirkus Reviews)show more

Review quote

"Touching, funny and clever" Daily Telegraph "A lively and original talent" The Sunday Times "Joanne Harris has the gift of conveying her delight in the sensuous pleasures of food, wine, scent and plants... Blackberry Wine has all the appeal of a velvety scented glass of vintage wine" Daily Mail "Thickly sensuous, wildly indulgent magical escapism: Chocolat lovers will drink deeply" Guardianshow more

About Joanne Harris

Joanne Harris is one of our best-loved and most versatile novelists. She first appeared on the scene with the bestselling Chocolat (made into an Oscar-nominated film with Juliette Binoche and Johnny Depp), which turned into the sensuous Lansquenet trilogy (with Lollipop Shoes and Peaches for Monsieur le Cure). She has since written acclaimed novels in such diverse genres as fantasy based on Norse myth (Runemarks, Runelight, The Gospel of Loki), and the Malbry cycle of dark psychological thrillers (Gentlemen & Players, Blueeyedboy, and now Different Class). Born in Barnsley, of an English father and a French mother, she spent fifteen years as a teacher before (somewhat reluctantly) becoming a full-time writer. In 2013, she was awarded an MBE. She lives in Yorkshire, plays bass in a band first formed when she was sixteen, works in a shed in her garden, spends far too much time online and occasionally dreams of faking her own death and going to live in Hawaii.show more

Back cover copy

Jay Mackintosh is trapped by memory in the old familiar landscape of his childhood, to which he longs to return. A bottle of home-brewed wine left to him by a long-vanished friend seems to provide the key to an old mystery. As the unusual properties of the strange brew take effect, Jay escapes to a derelict farmhouse in the French village of Lansquenet. There, a ghost from the past waits to confront him, and the reclusive Marise – haunted, lovely and dangerous – hides a terrible secret behind her closed shutters. Between them, a mysterious chemistry. Or could it be magic?show more