The Lost Vintage: A Novel (Paperback)
Winter 2019 Reading Group Indie Next List
“Mah brings her delightful food writing to this tale of an American sommelier who visits the French vineyard that has been in her family for generations. The story includes an invaluable wine collection hidden behind a cellar wall during World War II, the unpleasant mystery of an aunt who may have been a Nazi collaborator, plus her early love, Jon-Luc. This tale of family intrigue has all the right ingredients for a juicy mystery.”
— Karen Bakshoian, Letterpress Books, Portland, ME
“If you enjoyed Sarah’s Key and Kristin Hannah’s The Nightingale, then this wonderful book by Ann Mah is for you.” -- Tatiana de Rosnay
Sweetbitter meets The Nightingale in this page-turning novel about a woman who returns to her family’s ancestral vineyard in Burgundy and unexpectedly uncovers a lost diary, an unknown relative, and a secret her family has been keeping since World War II.
To become one of only a few hundred certified wine experts in the world, Kate must pass the notoriously difficult Master of Wine examination. She’s failed twice before; her third attempt will be her last chance. Suddenly finding herself without a job and with the test a few months away, she travels to Burgundy to spend the fall at the vineyard estate that has belonged to her family for generations. There she can bolster her shaky knowledge of Burgundian vintages and reconnect with her cousin Nico and his wife, Heather, who now oversee day-to-day management of the grapes. The one person Kate hopes to avoid is Jean-Luc, a talented young winemaker and her first love.
At the vineyard house, Kate is eager to help her cousin clean out the enormous basement that is filled with generations of discarded and forgotten belongings. Deep inside the cellar, behind a large armoire, she discovers a hidden room containing a cot, some Resistance pamphlets, and an enormous cache of valuable wine. Piqued by the secret space, Kate begins to dig into her family’s history—a search that takes her back to the dark days of World War II and introduces her to a relative she never knew existed, a great–half aunt who was a teenager during the Nazi occupation.
As she learns more about her family, the line between resistance and collaboration blurs, driving Kate to find the answers to two crucial questions: Who, exactly, did her family aid during the difficult years of the war? And what happened to six valuable bottles of wine that seem to be missing from the cellar’s collection?
About the Author
Ann Mah is a food and travel writer based in Paris and Washington DC. She is the author of the food memoir Mastering the Art of French Eating, and a novel, Kitchen Chinese. She regularly contributes to the New York Times’ Travel section and she has written for Condé Nast Traveler, Vogue.com, BonAppetit.com, Washingtonian magazine, and other media outlets.
“It’s apropos that this novel is set in Burgundy, because it shares the layers, depth, nuance and structure of the wines from that region.”
— Minneapolis Star Tribune
”A made-for-vacation read.”
“Suspenseful, rich in detail about French food, culture, history and of course wine, the real power of The Lost Vintage lies in its thoughtful and humane rendering of difficult but important truths.”
— Therese Anne Fowler, New York Times bestselling author of Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald
“Fans of World War II historical fiction have a new title to add to their book club reading list this summer....You’ll easily start and finish the entire book in the span of a long weekend.”
— Bon Appétit
“Charismatic...resonates on many levels, and [Mah’s] engaging story will appeal to readers who enjoy the family sagas of Kate Morton and Kristin Hannah.”
“If you enjoyed my Sarah’s Key and Kristin Hannah’s The Nightingale, then this wonderful book by Ann Mah is for you. I read it in one greedy gobble, couldn’t put it down, and can’t recommend it enough.”
— Tatiana de Rosnay, bestselling author of Sarah’s Key
“The world needs novels like The Lost Vintage: page-turning tales that remind us both of the power of the human spirit and the mystery of the human heart. It’s a remarkable novel.”
— Chris Bohjalian, bestselling author The Flight Attendant and The Sandcastle Girls
“Poised to become this season’s essential female-centered adventure.”
— The Hollywood Reporter
“A sensual and heartbreaking story of family secrets, lost love, and retribution that unfolds in the magical vineyards of Burgundy. Utterly gripping. I couldn’t put it down.”
— Danielle Trussoni, New York Times and internationally bestselling author of Angelology
“In elegant prose, Ann Mah spreads before her readers a sumptuous feast—a gripping mystery, a heartfelt love story, and a fascinating historical account. Awash in beautifully rendered detail, The Lost Vintage effortlessly glides between the vineyards of modern day Burgundy and the terrors of Nazi-occupied France. Graceful and compelling.”
— Cathy Marie Buchanan, New York Times bestselling author of The Painted Girls
“Ann Mah’s The Lost Vintage is as rich and complex as a fine French Burgundy — the perfect read for mystery lovers, history buffs, wine drinkers, Francophiles, and anyone interested in visiting the French wine country from a comfortable chair at home. Charmant!”
— Meg Waite Clayton, bestselling author of The Wednesday Sisters and The Race for Paris
“Ann’s Mah’s The Lost Vintage is a delightful novel--part love story, part mystery--that unfolds layer after layer of nuance and depth until its symphonic finish and reads like nothing so much as one of the vintage Burgundy wines that are so much part of the story.”
— Tilar J. Mazzeo, New York Times bestselling author of The Widow Clicquot
“Settle down with a glass of your favorite wine and allow yourself to be swept away in this beautiful tale of love, loss, courage and self-discovery.”
— Shilpi Somaya Gowda, bestselling author of The Golden Son
“A gorgeous novel of French food, wine, and a mystery from the past rapidly unravelling. I couldn’t stop reading and wanted to savor every word.”
— Allie Larkin, bestselling author of Stay
“Mah’s detailed descriptions of life on a family vineyard...are so robust that a novice wine drinker may progress to aficionado status by the end...Will delight Francophiles and readers who enjoy historical fiction with a twist by such authors as Lauren Willig or Christina Baker Kline.”
— Library Journal (starred review)