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Posted July 8, 2011
Jemison "Jem" Loud is a vineyard worker in Sawhorn, New York. After the death of his father, Jem inherits the Loud farm which is on a historical piece of land. He also discovers something about his family history that he never knew before. But that is not the end of it. Joe Silla, a newcomer to the town, is determined to get Jem's land at all costs and have it developed. Jem likes his childhood friend, Laura, but he knows she has a boyfriend. To further complicate matters, Joe Silla is Laura's brother-in-law. At the end of it all, Jem must learn to make wise decisions that will determine his future. I lost interest in Fruit of the Vine after reading less than a quarter of it. The story contained many descriptions and, while that was good, it became extreme to the point of being over-descriptive. Some parts of the story were also over-explanatory and I quickly lost focus on the main story gist. In addition, I thought that the story needed more colorful characters. But despite all that, I enjoyed the way Cynthia Kolko fit in the surprises. Surprises always happen to me, and I always enjoy reading about surprises in a book because that is something I can relate to. In Fruit of the Vine, just as the story was becoming mundane and bland, a surprise would spring up and that would hold the reader's attention just until the next surprising event in the story. Lessons are also to be learned from characters such as Joe Silla. Lessons such as you can't always get what you want and what you do to others will eventually be done to you. Overall, while Fruit of the Vine isn't a book I would re-read, it might possibly make a good read for those wanting a more laid-back and relaxing story. There isn't much in it to excite a reader and that will make a good, different change for anyone wanting to take a break from reading thrillers and other heart-racing books. I'd recommend it to those looking for such a book.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted March 13, 2011
Fruit of the Vine offers a slice of life in the Finger Lakes of NYS
The author and I are acquaintances who have struck up a primarily Twitter-based relationship in recent months. We live near each other & have some friends in common, which puts us at some of the same parties. I was eager to read a pre-release copy of Fruit of the Vine, in part because I'm curious to know if I, too, have what it takes to get a book published. Based on this reading, it takes the ability to describe a small town so that it will feel right whether you've been in similar towns or never left the big city; to populate it with characters that seem plausible even if unfamiliar; to pepper it with a modicum of history, conflict, romance, danger, rivalries & festering wounds; and to put the narrative in motion and let 'er rip. The setting is a small vineyard town in upstate New York, where news travels fast & plots unfold in unusual ways. We meet a lot of characters, but Kolko deftly connects the dots between them. The dialogue feels authentic & Kolko has clearly poked around a family-run vineyard long enough to know about ice wines & farmhands & kitschy giftshop inventory & the kinds of rumors that fly the morning after a certain pickup truck happens to stall out in front of a certain woman's door. This is a good read for people who wonder what goes on in these old towns once the folks who own summer homes & the tourists head back home. It's probably also a good read for people who have thought about packing it all in and moving to where life is simpler, especially if they have never contemplated what that feels like in the dead of winter. This is a solid first novel that gets a lot of essentials right and is spot-on in wanting to give every reader a true sense of life amid the rolling hills of the Finger Lakes. It also reminds me that summer isn't far off & I'll be sipping wine at my parents' "lake house" soon.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted February 12, 2011
I am a friend of Cynthia Kolko and had the pleasure to read this book prior to print. I was prepared to enjoy it as I knew that Cynthia has great wit and is a talented writer. This book exceeded my expectations. The use of language is playful yet very accurately descriptive. The characters are nicely developed and the reader is able to gain a true sense of understanding of their motivations and struggles- I read this book very quickly because I genuinely wanted to know what happened to them!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Having grown up in a small town that experienced a seasonal influx of visitors, I also felt that this novel captured that element of the Finger Lakes beautifully. As a resident of the region, I truly enjoyed how local references were woven throughout the story also contributing to the novel's strong sense of place.
I enjoyed this book thoroughly!
Posted January 16, 2011
A Great Dose of The Finger Lakes
I should preface this review by saying that I went to Camp with the author's husband. When he sent my an advanced copy of the book I was mildly horrified, because now I knew I would have to a) read it, and b) God forbid -- give him feedback! Well, I was pleasantly surprised. Cynthia "Cyn" Kolko paints a compelling portrait of life in the Finger Lakes -- a largely overlooked region of the country, and one of sublime beauty. Reading the book in New Jersey, I was quickly transported to the rolling hills, carved out lakes, and rustic vineyards of Western NY. But better yet -- I was air-dropped into the world of a family of winemakers and the trials and tribulations of their lives. If you've ever driven down a lost highway or peered at a tiny town on the side of the road, and wondered "I wonder what goes on there??" or "I wonder what my life would be like there...??" -- then this book is for you. With a knack for simile and depiction, Kolko places you amidst the corn fields and grape presses of rural USA and allows you to spend a winter (and spring) living the life you've only imagined. I found myself constantly drawn back to the book and looking forward to those windows of opportunity where I could again leave the Garden State in favor of the farm. If you're reading stack is waning and you're looking for a quirky (and seductive) hay ride into small town America -- then pick this fruit and dive in. You won't be disappointed.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.