I am pleased to welcome Renee Ryan today with a special excerpt from her new book, The Widows of Champagne as she tours with TLC Book Tours.
Available in paperback at Walmart, or online from your favorite audio or ebook retailer
Read the Excerpt:
Church bells rang from the Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Reims. The high-pitched peals rolled through the village, across the vineyards, summoning children to their breakfast, families to worship and, inside the room on the top floor of the château on the hill, they pulled Gabrielle gasping out of her terrifying dreams of spiders and war.
Staring up at the ceiling, she silently traced a thin crack in the plaster from one corner to the other. Her heart carried a similar scar, no longer a gaping wound, but there. Always there.
She stretched, trying to relieve the ache in her arms. Her palm met the sterile, empty spot in the bed beside her. Her life wasn’t supposed to be like this. She wasn’t supposed to be alone. Squeezing her eyes shut, she searched for a peace that always seemed just out of reach. For the strength she needed to carry on another day. Nearly five years had come and gone, and she still hadn’t gotten used to facing life without the man who’d been her best friend first, then her companion and confidant and, for too brief a time, her husband.
Forcing open her eyes, Gabrielle considered the hours upon hours that lay ahead. Hours of battling the elements with only one goal in mind. Save the grapes.
A nearly impossible feat at this point in the growing season.
Nevertheless, she would contend with the weather, for her family. The ones lost and the ones still alive. It was enough. That’s what she told herself when she slid out of bed and began the process of dressing for a long, punishing day among the vines. Most of Reims would attend Mass today. There would be no Sabbath for Gabrielle.
The sound of the tolling bells faded, but the ringing remained in her ears, a constant reminder that Reims was a city of cathedrals. From her earliest memories the church bells had marked off every important event in her life. They told her when to wake, when to work, when to break for meals. They called her to worship, to celebrate a marriage, a birth, and to mourn. Gabrielle had attended too many funerals in her twenty-seven years.
There would be more. As certain as this year’s harvest was ruined, war was coming, death its eager companion. God had forgotten France. Nothing would stop what was coming now. Not even the celebrated French army.
She attempted to stretch away the stiffness in her back. Every muscle protested, her arms especially. With effort, she tied the tangle of dark, sleep-mussed hair off her face, then moved to the small, circular window that overlooked the vineyard. The sun spread tentative fingers through a seam in the clouds, as if trapped in a moment of uncertainty. Unfortunately, the decision was already made. A band of thunder clouds boiled over the northern skies, moving quickly toward the vineyard.
About The Widows of Champagne:
For readers of Lilac Girls and The Lost Girls of Paris comes a captivating novel of resilience, as three generations of women battle to save their family’s vineyard during WWII.
Gabrielle Leblanc Dupree is taking her family’s future into her hands. While she should be preparing for a lavish party to celebrate two centuries of champagne making, she secretly hides Chateau Fouché-Leblanc’s most precious vintages behind a fake wall in the cellar in preparation for the looming war. But when she joins the resistance, the coveted champagne isn’t the most dangerous secret her cellar must conceal…
A former Parisian socialite, Gabrielle’s mother, Hélène, lost her husband to another war. Now her home has been requisitioned by the Germans, who pillage vineyards to satisfy the Third Reich’s thirst for the finest champagne. There’s even more at stake than Hélène dares admit. She has kept her heritage a secret…and no one is safe in Nazi-occupied France.
Josephine, the family matriarch, watches as her beloved vineyard faces its most difficult harvest yet. As her daughter-in-law and granddaughters contend with the enemies and unexpected allies in their midst, Josephine’s deep faith leads to her own path of resistance.
Across years and continents, the Leblanc women will draw on their courage and wits, determined against all odds to preserve their lives, their freedom and their legacy…
About the Author:
Renee Ryan grew up in a Florida beach town where she learned how to surf and skateboard very poorly. As a teenager, she gave up on both pursuits and began entertaining herself during countless hours of “laying-out” by reading all the classics.
After graduating college, with a degree in Economics and Religion, she explored various career opportunities at a Florida theme park and a modeling agency. She moved on to teach high school Economics, American Government and Latin while coaching award-winning cheerleading teams.
Connect with Renee
Follow the Tour for Reviews and Additional Excerpts
Monday, July 19th: Susan Loves Books – review
Tuesday, July 20th: Books & Benches – excerpt
Wednesday, July 21st: @hannah_reads – review
Wednesday, July 21st: @olivias.bookish.world – review
Wednesday, July 21st: Bewitched Bookworms – excerpt
Thursday, July 22nd: @travelerswife4life – review
Thursday, July 22nd: A Baker’s Perspective – review & excerpt
Saturday, July 24th: @girl_loves_dogs_books_
Sunday, July 25th: @thebookscript – review
Monday, July 26th: @arrow_reads – review
Tuesday, July 27th: @lovelyplacebooks – review
Wednesday, July 28th: Kahakai Kitchen – excerpt
Wednesday, July 28th: @
Thursday, July 29th: @falling4romance – review
Thursday, July 29th: Books Cooks Looks – excerpt
Friday, July 30th: @andrea.c.lowry.reads – review
Friday, July 30th: Kahakai Kitchen – review
Saturday, July 31st: @bookscoffeephotography
Monday, August 2nd: Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama – excerpt
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