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House of Daughters    by Sarah-Kate Lynch order for
House of Daughters
by Sarah-Kate Lynch
Order:  USA  Can
Plume, 2008 (2008)

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* *   Reviewed by Joan Burton

Nestled in the beautiful, lush countryside of Champagne, France, stands the stately House of Peine. An estate house with vineyards, it has been in the family for generations and is owned and operated by Olivier and his daughter Clementine. Clementine made the decision to stay and work the business and also take care of her cantankerous father. The House of Peine had been known for producing some of the finest wines and champagnes in the region. Recently Olivier has seemed to lose interest in the business, preferring to drink rather than work. The house is in bad need of repairs but money is tight.

After Olivier dies suddenly in an accident, Clementine, although grieving the loss, revels in the knowledge that the House of Peine is now hers. Years of hard work have now left her at forty-four years of age with a vineyard to reclaim. Meeting with the family lawyer and reading the will Clementine is shocked to learn its contents. The House of Peine must be shared with a half sister she hasn't seen in eighteen years, and a half sister she never knew existed. How could her father fail to share this with her when he was alive?

Too soon for Clementine the other sisters arrive at the House of Peine. Mathilde comes from New York City and hasn't changed at all over the years. She always has rude comments and put downs, and is ready to do battle with Clementine over an old boyfriend. Clementine is relieved that Mathilde never knew the secret she kept buried for so long. Free spirited Sophie, the youngest, never even knew her father. She arrives lonely and wanting to connect with a family she never knew about. Three sisters, each different from the other, all carrying emotional baggage from the past, struggle to rescue the family business when someone tries to destroy their heritage.

House of Daughters is a beautifully written book about three sisters who overcome their pasts to share a future together. Sarah-Kate Lynch did extensive research on the Champagne region of France and the production of wine and champagne, using this to enrich the novel.

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