Blog Tour – Grape Expectations by Caro Feely – Review!

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Grape Expectations
Release date: October 2013, 288 pages,
by Summersdale
Author’s website | Goodreads

SYNOPSIS – Filled with vivid descriptions of delicious wines, great food, and stunning views, this is a unique insight into the world of the winemaker, and a story of passion, dedication, and love.

When Caro and Sean find the perfect 10-hectare vineyard in Saussignac, it seems like their dreams of becoming winemakers in the south of France are about to come true. But they arrive in France with their young family (a toddler and a newborn) to be faced with a dilapidated 18th-century farmhouse and an enterprise that may never, ever make them a living. Undeterred by mouse infestations, a leaking roof, treacherous hordes of insects, visits from the local farm “police,” and a nasty accident with an agricultural trimmer, Caro and Sean set about transforming their “beyond eccentric” winery into a successful business as they embark on the biggest adventure of their lives—learning to make wine from the roots up. [provided by the publisher]

NB: the book was received with success in the UK in 2012, it is now being published in the US.

Caro FeelyAUTHOR – “Apart from smoking on the fire escape at school – don’t tell my parents – I was a co-founder of the first magazine published by students which covered chocolate obsessions, and the funny, eccentric and bizarre things that happen at girls only boarding schools.

After university I wrote intermittent articles for newspapers and magazines related to my career in IT consulting. I started writing books in earnest Dublin in 2003 while on maternity leave but it took a gift of Maeve Binchy’s ‘writers club’ from my husband Sean to get my first published book Grape Expectations into good enough shape to attract a publisher – Summersdale – to whom I am eternally grateful for lifting me from the slush pile.” [from the author’s website]

Seán & Caro Feely
Terroir Feely & French Wine Adventures
EARL Chateau Haut Garrigue, LD Garrigue Basse, 24240 Saussignac, France

Certified organic biodynamic wines: |
Award winning tours:
Luxury eco gites:
Books: ‘Grape Expectations’ at
Twitter: @carofeely |


Monday, Oct 21
Review + Giveaway at I Am, Indeed
Review at Books A To Z

Tuesday, Oct 22
Review + Giveaway at Breadcrumb Reads
Review at Words And Peace

Wednesday, Oct 23
Review + guest-post + Giveaway at Boxes of Paper

Thursday, Oct 24
Review at The Most Happy Reader
Interview at Words And Peace

Friday, Oct 25
Review at Bookalicious Travel Addict
Review by author Paulita Kincer


Genre: Memoir
Format: Ebook
First Line: “I took a deep draught and swirled it around, feeling the warming sensation of alcohol on the back of my throat.”

Review: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a honest review.

Why would a teetotaler want to read a book about family of wine growers? I love quirky memoirs. Simple as that. A family uprooting themselves from the UK to France to become professional wine makers with no experience. Plus the title! How could I resist?

GRAPE EXPECTATIONS reads more like Feely’s daily diary entries than an actual book. It’s pretty detailed about their lives over the course of about three years. Sometimes I appreciated the details, but there were times when I thought Feely could have spared me on some of the information. I didn’t want to know every time she was breast feeding her youngest daughter while talking to so and so on the phone or that she hadn’t had sex with her husband in a few weeks (or the alternative what their sex was like). Little too much information. The writing style is rather slow and dry and I found it hard to read at times because of this.

Since this memoir mostly takes place in France, Feely writes a great chuck of the dialogue in French, however she doesn’t do a translation for her readers the majority of the time, so non-French speakers will be lost when this occurs. In the memoir, for some reason occasionally the author and her husband during the dialogue will refer to each other as odd nicknames. Sean is SF and Caro is Carolinus. If they talk this way in real life I have no clue, but reading Feely call her husband SF in conversation when in the narrative a sentence before she referred to him as Sean is very confusing. I thought that Feely wrote her husband, Sean off as a total jerk. Ignoring Feely, putting her down over the course of farming the grapes and even partying with college kids. I feel bad that I got this impression of him. Feely later changes this view of Sean in her memoir and he redeems himself, but there is still that first impression.

Usually when I go to learn something new it’s about history. But hey, a different subject will nicely too. I didn’t know anything about making wine before this novel. I take that back. I knew that it came from grapes and once harvested had to be fermented for a time period. That was it. I bet a lot of you are looking at that like I am crazy. This memoir was an eye opener not only for me but for the Feely family that making wine is hard work. My grandparents were farmers and I can relate a lot to the Feelys difficulties and stress on growing their own crops. There’s a lot of science and timing that goes into making wine. It’s quite fascinating.

Also, I enjoyed that after basically throwing their oldest girl, Sophie, into the French culture and language by enrolling her into school, adjusting superbly. She would lead her family to sing songs in French (I imagine a child standing on a chair, pretending to conduct an orchestra) and teaching her mother, the author, how to properly eat and prepare French cuisine.

Worst part: Moved slowly

Best part: Learned about wine growing

Grade: C / 3 Stars

Recommend For: Hardcore wine drinkers, wine growers, & home renovators

Other Books by This Author: None


3 thoughts on “Blog Tour – Grape Expectations by Caro Feely – Review!

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