Sweetbitter meets The Nightingale in this page-turning novel about wine and World War II.
In stores June 19, 2018; now available for pre-order.
To become one of only a few hundred certified wine experts in the world, Kate must pass the notoriously difficult Master of Wine examination. She’s failed twice before; her third attempt will be her last. Suddenly finding herself without a job and with the test a few months away, the travels to Burgundy to spend the fall at the vineyard estate that has belonged to her family for generations. There she can bolster her shaky knowledge of Burgundian vintages and reconnect with her cousin Nico and his wife, Heather, who now oversee the day-to-day management of the grapes. The one person Kate hopes to avoid is Jean-Luc, a talented young winemaker and her first love.
At the vineyard house, Kate is eager to help her cousin clean out the enormous basement that is filled with generations of discarded and forgotten belongings. Deep inside the cellar, behind a large armoire, she discovers a hidden room containing a cot, some Resistance pamphlets, and an enormous cache of valuable wine. Piqued by the secret space, Kate begins to dig into her family’s history – a search that takes her back to the dark days of World War II and introduces her to a relative she never knew existed, a great-half aunt who was a teenager during the Nazi occupation.
As she learns more about her family, the line between resistance and collaboration blurs, driving Kate to find the answers to two crucial questions: Who, exactly, did her family aid during the difficult years of the war? And what happened to six valuable bottles of wine that seem to be missing from the cellar’s collection?
“The world needs novels like The Lost Vintage: page-turning tales that remind us both of the power of the human spirit and the mystery of the human heart. The Lost Vintage moves seamlessly between the indignities and horrors of occupied France in the Second World War and the pride and passion of serious winemakers in the present. It’s a remarkable novel.”
–Chris Bohjalian, bestselling author The Flight Attendant and The Sandcastle Girls
“Weaving together past and present and all the complex history of France’s relationship with the German occupation of the Second World War and the secrets that are still kept, Ann Mah’s The Lost Vintage is a delightful novel – part love story, part mystery – that unfolds layer after layer of nuance and depth until its symphonic finish and reads like nothing so much as one of the vintage Burgundy wines that are so much part of the story.
–Tilar J. Mazzeo, bestselling author of The Widow Clicquot and The Hotel on Place Vendôme
An Amazon best book of the year, and a winner of the Elle Readers’ Prize.
When journalist Ann Mah’s husband is given a diplomatic assignment in Paris, Mah, a lifelong foodie and Francophile, begins plotting gastronomic adventures à deux. Then her husband is called away to Iraq on a yearlong post—alone—turning Mah’s vision of a romantic sojourn in the City of Light upside down. So, not unlike another diplomatic wife, Julia Child, Mah must find a life for herself in a new city. Journeying through Paris and the surrounding regions of France, Mah combats her loneliness by seeking out the epitome of French comfort food – cassoulet – and learning how the andouillette sausage is really made. She discovers the true stories behind the country’s signature regional dishes, exploring the history and taste of everything from boeuf bourguignon to the crispiest of buckwheat crêpes. And somewhere between Paris and the south of France, she uncovers a few of life’s truths.
“Charming and instructive, filled with interesting characters, recipes, and lore… Mastering the Art of French Eating makes you want to be in Paris. It will also make you very hungry.”
–The Wall Street Journal
“Mah admirably fits her research into easily digested bites, the reader’s enthusiasm mirroring her own.”
–New York Times Book Review
“Our readers were enraptured by [Mah’s] luscious and detailed descriptions of the meals that became the rich medium for a lonely wife’s tentative socializing in a strange land.”
“A progressive dinner of food, countryside and the people who make French cuisine the feast that it is. Mah admits that she could now do another memoir of lesser-known regions and their dishes. It’s enough to make one hope she gets abandoned in France again.”
–Minneapolis Star Tribune
“Consistently passionate and emotionally resonant, Mah’s prose brims with true love…. A bighearted, multisensory tour of France.”
“An enjoyable and thoughtful read that sparkles with humor. This honest, funny, and eloquent memoir is sure to delight lovers of France, food, or travel.”
“Steeped in history, each chapter culls together not just recipes but anecdotes, essays and cultural traditions to present a full picture of French eating. The food is discussed with reverence, but Mah also writes the supporting characters in her memoir — from friends she meets along the way to writers she discovers — with infectious excitement. The result is a well-written entrée into French dining as it’s actually done by expats.”
–The Daily Beast
“By turns sweet, self-deprecating, humorous, and poignant, with questions of how we grow close to each other through food and curiosity, this memoir is a treat to savor.”
“Whether you’re French or Francophile, a long-time connoisseur of French food or someone who’s just figuring out the difference between frites and frangipane, feasting through France with Ann Mah is a delicious adventure. Ann’s writing is lovely, her curiosity boundless and her good taste assured. Spending time with her in Mastering the Art of French Eating is a treat.”
–Dorie Greenspan, author of Around My French Table
“Ann Mah dishes up a welcoming concoction, a good dose of French history, a personal, vibrant, enthusiastic picture of life in a country she adores, without apology. I am hungry already!”
–Patricia Wells, author of The French Kitchen Cookbookand The Food Lover’s Guide to Paris
“Ann Mah joins Elizabeth David in being a joy and an instruction to read.”
–Diane Johnson, author of Le Divorce
“Excellent ingredients, carefully prepared and very elegantly served. A really tasty book.”
–Peter Mayle, author of A Year in Provence
“A tour de force through French cuisine, Ann Mah crisscrossed France, learning about all my favorite foods – from buckwheat galettes to the secrets of authentic cassoulet. Her personal culinary tale will have you packing your bags. But if you can’t make it to France, Ann offers delicious recipes, culled from experts!”
–David Lebovitz, author of My Paris Kitchen
“A delicious debut novel, seasoned with just the right balance of humor and heart, and sprinkled with fascinating cultural tidbits.”
–Claire Cook, author of Must Love Dogs
“A refreshing and fun narrative, helped along by a fantastic heroine whose insights into modern China and the expatriate experience will intrigue readers. It’s a great start for a writer with much promise.”
“Splendid… warm and humorous. Four-and-a-half stars.”
“A lighthearted romp about rediscovering one’s roots through food, the most universal of languages.”
–Inland Empire Weekly