True Vines by Diana Strinati Baur

True Vines
True Vines, is a story about Meryl's journey of finding her place in life. Betrayed early on, she finds happiness in the arms of Francesco and the life they have built in Italy. After 13 years, she loses the most important thing in her world and so hurries back to her hometown in Pennsylvania trying to heal. She ends up blocking everything out, just going thru the motions of living. She slowly, successfully has a break down, destroying the barrier she has put up since she lost Francesco. The barrier that has always been with her, preventing her from forging bonds with other people. 
True Vines was a very engaging read although slow paced, this worked in keeping with the way the tale was unfolding. The story was more than dealing with loss and grief nor was it just about a strong and abiding love. True Vines is about a woman's journey of finding herself, of how much she has and how much she tries to blindly block out everthing. The characters were all flawed, even the love of Meryl and Francesco was not perfect. They have all made mistakes they've regretted but in the end, you pick up the pieces and build something better, stronger and lasting. It wasn't just her life but in essence its her whole being that was given a chance at a happy ever after over and over again. That making mistakes was not the end but a catalyst to start anew. Its a story about grabbing happiness and making it work and having your happy ever after step by step.

Book Summary:

When the Italian countryside simply won't leave your heart...

After the sudden death of her Italian winemaker husband, Meryl Michelli flees to her small hometown in Pennsylvania, looking to slam the door on heartache and trudge forward. But it's never that simple, especially when old family ties have been strained by years of geographic and emotional distance. 

A chance encounter with a childhood friend brings back a betrayal she could never put to rest, and readjusting to life in the States in upper mid-life wears her thin in ways she never could have imagined. Just when Meryl feels she can't go on, Providence steps in and gives her permission to completely fall apart. Only then can she finally manage to grieve both her magnanimous, flawed Francesco and the unforgettable country she left behind.

True Vines traverses the manicured rows of northern Italy's majestic wine country and the winding path of Pennsylvania's Delaware River as Meryl seeks to reconcile her past and her present. Several people on each side of the Atlantic guide her as she relives her own stories: a spirited sister-in-law, a petulant physician, a strong-willed landlady, a good-guy boss, a determined mother-in-law, an amazing flood survivor, a Senegalese English student, a young co-worker. Each recollection and encounter deepens Meryl's insight into how to make peace with her new reality.

Saying goodbye to one existence allows Meryl to swing the door open to another as she weaves a new, uniquely beautiful tapestry that transports her to exactly the place in this short, sacred life she is meant to be.

Title: True Vines 
Genre: Contemporary Adult Fiction, Women's Lit
Published: October 23, 2012
Publisher: Gemelli Press LLC
Rating:  ♨♨♨♨ 4 of 5  (An engaging read about one woman's journey into finding her place under the sun.  Set in the gorgeous Piemonte in Italy and the beautiful Delaware River in Pennsylvania True Vines is one book were the writing makes you so invested in the story)

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