Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Book Review: Blush by Jamie Brenner

Pages: 384
Genre: Adult Fiction
Pub. Date: June 22, 2021
Publisher: Putnam
Source: Publisher for review
My Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars



Goodreads says, "From acclaimed author Jamie Brenner comes a stunning new novel about three generations of women who discover that the trashy novels of a bygone era just might hold the key to saving their family's coastal winery--and to finding the love that's eluded them.  For decades, the lush vineyards and majestic manor house of the Hollander Estates winery made it the North Fork of Long Island's premier destination for lavish parties and romantic day trips. Now the Hollander family fortunes have suffered, and as matriarch Vivian Hollander prepares for the arrival of her daughter and granddaughter for their annual summer reunion, she fears it might be their last. Worse, selling the family legacy to strangers might expose the dark secret she's harbored for thirty-five years.... Visits to the winery have been bittersweet for Leah Hollander Bailey ever since her father refused to let her take her place in the family business. Now a successful Manhattan shop owner, Leah loves the life she's built with her husband and daughter--but with her store, and her marriage, at a crossroads, she can't help but view this year's pilgrimage home as a sorely needed escape. College senior Sadie Bailey has a thesis to write, and the towering shelves of the manor's library offer endless academic inspiration. But when Sadie discovers evidence that her proper Grandma Vivian once ran a book club dedicated to the scandalous women's novels of decades past, the shockingly outrageous tomes give her new insight into her family's glory days. Resurrecting the trashy book club begins as the distraction all three women need. But as they battle to save their birthright and heal old wounds, they just might find that the pages contain everything they need to know about how to fight for what they want--and for the life, and love, they deserve."


The Hollander family owns a vineyard and winery on Long Island and for years it has been extremely successful.  The matriarch of the family, Vivian, is the epitome of style and class and her husband, Leonard, is an incredible winemaker.  As the years go by, they suffer financially though and refuse to change with the times.  Their daughter, Leah, has always wanted her place in the family business, but thanks to her father, she was overlooked and the job was passed to her incapable brother.  Devastated Leah built her own business instead, and lives happily with her husband and daughter, Sadie.  Sadie is a college senior and is putting off writing her thesis, much to her advisor's dismay.  To top it off, she finds herself newly single.  Thankfully, she is going with her parents to her grandparents' winery this summer and she is hoping this is the change of pace she needs. While there, her grandfather makes an important announcement that sends some of the women spiraling.  Sadie has found solace in her grandparents' library and has come across some of the books that her grandmother read at her now defunct book club from the 80s.  Cue Jackie Collins, Judith Krantz, and others along with the super fun and sexy plot lines. Sadie discovers the enjoyment in these "trashy" books and in turn, reconnects with her family members.  All three women are changed this summer for the better in Jamie Brenner's Blush.

Vivian Hollander is an interesting character and she reminded me a bit of Jackie Kennedy Onassis. She's stylish, smart, well-rounded, and everyone loves her taste. It's timeless.  She has decorated their family home in such a beautiful way that it's been featured in magazines. People recognize her as the matriarch of the winery and she has gained notoriety.  Things were going well for her, except Vivian is hiding a secret and it may come out this summer, especially with the financial turn of events.

Leah is the sort of character you can't help but root for in Blush. She was basically pushed out of her family's business for the sole reason that she is a female, so instead of wallowing in things, she opened up a successful cheese shop in New York City and often incorporates wines into the fold.  She doesn't need her family's winery after all and has moved on. She has a dedicated husband and a beautiful daughter, Sadie, but deep down she still feels slighted by her father's sexist behavior by giving her brother some control of the business.  Predictably,  her brother is a mess and shouldn't be given a say in anything.  While visiting over the summer, things definitely come to a head in this area of her life, especially when everyone realizes they might need Leah more than they thought.

Sadie is also an interesting character in Blush and despite her age, she does share some conflicts with her mother and grandmother.  Even though they all different ages, they deal with a lot of the same issues in love and life.  My favorite part of Blush was when Sadie came across her grandmother's old book club selections and initially she thought they were just bodice rippers. It's hard to imagine your grandmother reading books like this, but once she starts reading the novels, she realizes there's more to them than she thought.  Resurrecting family book club also helps the other family members reconnect and provide some possible solutions to pressing problems.

Various parts of Blush included details and excerpts from these romance novels and I especially appreciated that. I was too young to be familiar with these novels, but I liked Brenner's details surrounding the various plots.  In fact, I looked a few up on Goodreads! I also enjoyed how Brenner incorporated these books into Blush and the idea that a book club can bring family members back together.

Blush wasn't my favorite of Brenner's novels; however, I loved the setting of the winery and how the story focuses on three generations of women.  There were a lot of details surrounding wine making that I also appreciated.  Blush was the perfect book to spend time with on a summer afternoon along with a crisp white wine. 

Are you a fan of Jamie Brenner? Is Blush on your TBR list? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below. 



  1. I always love her summery settings and the focus on family; the book club is a fun addition!

    1. Right? It was a lot of fun--loved the winery setting and learning more about what goes into winemaking. The book club was definitely an added bonus, too. Thanks for visiting, Angela!


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