I am honored once again, Dear Bloggites, to have been asked by an up and coming author to review their debut novel. Jane Paterson sent me a sweet email offering her debut Women’s Fiction novel as a gift if I would be kind enough to read and review her book. Of course I said yes, I am always willing to help out a fellow writer, especially those that have gone through the grueling process of being published. 🙂
Gatekeepers of the Grapevine by Jane Paterson is about a group of women in various stages of life who are friends that live in the same community and a sister of the Queen of the Pack who lives in the same town. This novel follows three main women: Elizabeth, the self-appointed Queen of Vintner’s Estate; Carolyn, the newest member of Vintner’s Estate and protégé of Elizabeth’s; and Sarah, Elizabeth’s sister who is a painter by trade.
I have not read many women’s fiction novels, but I was intrigued by the description of the novel and, as I began to read the novel, I became more intrigued. Although slow paced, this novel focuses on the socio-economic status of the well-to-do versus the ordinary wage earner.
Elizabeth always had issues with her sister, Sarah, and she takes pride on being in control of everything she comes into contact with, from her family, household, and friends, Elizabeth feels she is above all others and they would do well by following her lead or risk being ostracized from the social circles. Sarah, although she loved her sister, never had an easy relationship with Elizabeth and would always feel out of place whenever her sister threw a grand party and invited her to attend. Carolyn wants to be accepted into the social world of Elizabeth and never feels quite there due to a secret she kept from all about where she came from.
The novel is set in South Africa and Jane Paterson help her readers imagine life there with her pleasant descriptions of the locations. The novel is broken down into chapters that would focus on one of the ladies’ point of view and she titled each chapter to help the reader know who they were reading about. While I do not like novels broken down this way, I truly appreciated the titles for each chapter because as I read, I was able to put myself with the character who was providing the point of view.
The only thing I wished was that the novel would have been a little faster paced than what it was. I enjoy the background and storyline, but I felt at times it seemed to drag on to reach the climax of the storyline and when the climax was reached, it seemed to falter and leave me wanting more of the dramatic reveal of each of the lives that were affected.
Overall, I did enjoy this novel and it did keep my interest. Thank You, Jane, for asking me to review this novel and I look forward to more books by you. You have a new fan in me! 🙂
I give Gatekeepers of the Grapevine by Jane Paterson 3 out of 5 Bookmarks. Give her a whirl, you won’t be disappointed.