by Idwal Jones
Paperback. 285 pages. 1997.
Set in the Napa Valley at the turn of the century, this novel beautifully evokes the characters’ love of the land and the rhythms of life lived close to the earth and its seasons. Spirited Alda Pendle is the daughter of a viticulturist who has taught her his craft. When he dies, leaving her without property, her skills make her indispensable to the solitary owner of one of the old vineyards in the valley. The novel provides a vivid history of winemaking in California to the Prohibition era.
The book is structured along the sequence of the vineyard year, from planting to harvest, so that every essential process of grape growing and winemaking comes in for its due attention. Jones knows about the various crises of disease and of economics that troubled the industry, and he identifies and describes the kinds of wine, good and bad, that were sold in the state. – From the publisher.
Ton of Trouble : A Josephine Fuller Mystery
by Lynne Murray
Hardcover. 160 pages. 2002.
Set in the beautiful wine country of Napa Valley, A TON OF TROUBLE once again has plus-sized sleuth Jospehine Fuller caught in the middle of a gruesome murder. When she receives a note from Wolf Lambert, the director of X rated films starring XXL women, Josephine decides to stop and visit him at his winery. Her spur of the moment impulse, however, leads her right into the middle of a murder investigation when a body is found in one of Wolf’s wine barrels and her friend Thelma, a supersized porn queen, is one of the leading suspects.
Her investigation, however, has to take a backseat to her day job – looking into a women’s clinic to see if it is a worthy cause for her wealthy boss to support. Josephine soon discovers that this women’s clinic is a cover-up for extreme anti-abortionists. Unfortunately, it’s headed up by a gun-toting, self-righteous, religious woman who has taken an instant dislike to Josephine.
Soon Josephine is balancing her time between digging up the secrets of one of the most powerful wine families in the valley and uncovering what exactly is happening behind the closed doors of the clinic. As if that weren’t enough, her on-again, off-again relationship with Mulligan seems to have turned back on. If only she can convince him that her involvement with the porn industry is a purely professional interest.
Filled with Josephine’s common sense approach to life and her ever-present sparkling wit, A TON OF TROUBLE is a fast, fun, entertaining read. – From the publisher
Always Coming Home
|by Ursula LeGuin|
Paperback. 525 pages. 2001 (Originally published in 1985).
Ursula Le Guin’s Always Coming Home is a major work of the imagination from one of America’s most respected writers of science fiction. More than five years in the making, it is a novel unlike any other. A rich and complex interweaving of story and fable, poem, artwork, and music, it totally immerses the reader in the culture of the Kesh, a peaceful people of the far future who inhabit a place called the Valley on the Northern Pacific Coast.
Ursula K. Le Guin is the author of novels, children’s books, short stories, critical writings, and poetry. She is the winner of the National Book Award and the Nebula and Hugo awards for science fiction. She grew up in Berkeley and the Napa Valley and now lives in Portland, Oregon. Her most recent book is The Telling (2000). – From the publisher