Title: Angel’s Share
Author: Kayte Nunn
Published: May 1st 2017
Genres: Fiction, Contemporary, Australian
Rating: 4.5 stars
When something is taken away, it can make what’s left all the sweeter – in winemaking, they call it the ‘angels’ share’.
Mattie Cameron thinks she’s got it all figured out: an impressive career in London, a gorgeous boyfriend and brilliant friends. But after a freak skiing accident leaves her with serious injuries, a broken heart and a job she can no longer do, moving back to Australia to recuperate at her brother Mark’s winery in the Shingle Valley seems like the only option.
Meanwhile, Mark is preoccupied with a catastrophic threat to the future of the valley and his partner, Rose, is juggling the demands of her burgeoning restaurant and being a stepmother, all the while secretly longing for a child of her own.
As Mattie’s injuries heal, she begins to wonder where her future might lie, especially when she finds herself struggling with her growing feelings for winemaker Charlie Drummond – who happens to be engaged to someone.
Featuring the cherished cast of characters from Rose’s Vintage, this new tale of life and love in the spectacular Shingle Valley is set to charm and delight.
Last year I had the pleasure of reading Kayte Nunn’s debut novel, Rose’s Vintage. With the rise in popularity of Australian rural romances set around vineyards, I classed Rose’s Vintage as the best of the bunch. A chance to revisit the memorable characters, as well as stunning region of the fictional town Shingle Valley, through reading Angel’s Share was a welcome one. Although this book is the second in the Shingle Valley series, it can very easily be read as a stand alone novel.
Angel’s Share introduces as to a new main character to Shingle Valley, Mark’s (owner of Kalkarri Wines) sister, Matilda “Mattie” Cameron. Mattie has been living abroad for ten years, carving out a successful career for herself in London. While on a holiday with her boyfriend Johnny, Mattie suffers from a near fatal ski accident, due to a snow avalanche. Mattie suffers a further terrible blow when her boyfriend dumps her soon after the accident. Mattie decides rather reluctantly at first to return home to Australia for some TLC and to recover from her injuries. Home for Mattie is now her brother’s picturesque boutique winery, which seems like to perfect place to recuperate. Mattie soon realises her broken heart and loss of career in London, pales into comparison to her brother Mark’s problems. With a mining threat to the winery he worked so hard to build up from scratch, through to custody issues with his ex and mother of his two children to contend with. Life sure isn’t smooth sailing at Kalkarri. As Mattie tries to find her purpose in life again and heal physically from her wounds, she finds herself falling for old love interest. Mattie sets her sights on local winemaker Charlie, who she had a crush on as a teen. As Mattie’s attraction to Charlie grows, she is faced with a rather large romantic obstacle, Charlie is promised to another woman. Can Mattie make a life for herself back home in Shingle Valley and love again?
I very much welcomed a return to Shingle Valley, through reading Angel’s Share, a fresh instalment in Kayte Nunn’s vineyard backdrop series. I loved the sense of familiarity that came with this book. Often when you finish a great book, you wonder how the characters will progress after that final page is turned. Well, Kayte Nunn filled that void for me by writing Angel’s Share. I felt a strong sense of comfort in discovering how Rose, the main protagonist from the first book, was travelling. It was interesting to see how Rose’s relationship with Mark was now playing out and how she was handling her new role as a stepmother, while balancing her own wishes to have a child. Angel’s Share also allows the reader to see how Rose’s food business venture is panning out, as well as Mark’s winery. I welcomed the return of minor but loveable characters from the previous novel, such as Mark’s children Luisa, Leo and Rose’s friend Astrid. I wasn’t at all surprised when Mark’s ex Isabelle was reintroduced, still causing a rift in the family. These characters definitely contribute to some memorable scenes in Angel’s Share.
Mattie, the main character Nunn has chosen to zone Angel’s Share on was another likeable protagonist. I developed a genuine interest in her affairs. In particular, I felt absolutely awful for Mattie when she was delivered with a double whammy – a near fatal skiing accident, closely followed by a heartless relationship breakup with her British boyfriend Johnny. These scenes allow us to see how Nunn is able to write with compassion. I found Nunn’s writing smooth and easy to digest. Nunn’s style of writing allows us to develop a close attachment to Mattie, along with strengthening our interest in the welfare of the returning characters, such as Rose and Mark. Mattie’s issues in the romance field with love interest Charlie add complications to the story, as we see Mattie’s path to happiness is not an easy one. Overall, I appreciated the way in which Nunn tackled this angle of the story, especially Mattie’s healing process.
It is a shame Shingle Valley is a fictional town, as I would dearly lovely to visit this part of Australia and taste the wine the featured winery Kalkarri has to offer. Kayte Nunn’s palatable descriptions of this stunning vineyard and surrounds make me want to visit this delicious story setting in a heartbeat! Instead, I will settle with having immensely enjoyed the experience of reading Kayte Nunn’s second novel, Angel’s Share. I will raise my glass of sweet fresh wine, a staple while reading this novel, to Kayte Nunn for a fine second offering in the Shingle Valley series.
Angel’s Share by Kayte Nunn is to be published by Nero on May 1st 2017. Details on how to purchase the book can be found here.
*I received a copy of this book from the publisher via a Goodreads giveaway.