This is a charming story that brings together the worlds of food and wine, deliciously.
Gabriel is the owner of a high class restaurant. Well on the way to becoming a hugely successful chef and restaurateur, he is young, wealthy and good looking. However, having reached the big three-Oh he is looking for more. When he meets William, owner of an up and coming winery, the chemistry is ripe for romance.
The characteres of William and Gabriel are finely drawn and attractive in more than just physical appearance. Against a backdrop of good food and wine, parties with 'A'listers and the beautiful scenery of the vineyards, the coast and nearby island, their love story unfolds at an easy pace. That is, until they save a teenager, Ben, who is about to throw himself off a wall.
Ben's introduction into the story begins a darker thread that deals with weighty subjects such as bullying, homophobia and teenage suicide. All three are dealt with in a sensitve way and are explored without sensationalism or preachiness. Although only a few pages, the meeting at the town hall, in which a young girl speaks up, demanding that the students take the power back into their hands, while mourning the death of her friend by suicide after homophbic bullying, is one of the most memorable of the entire story. We hear no more of the girl but in those few paragraphs the author has created a strong and memoriable characters.
There are plenty of other such characters: the ex wife - Willow, the business partner - Ruby, Pierre the wine expert. All characters who appear only briefly but make an impression.
And then there is the 'baddie'. All good stories have to have one. In this one it's Elliott, a small-time agent and big-time homphobe. He keeps coming up light last night's curry and spouting his poisin to anyone who will listen. fortunately, no one does.
This is a sweet story, that meanders between the restaurant and the winery, between love and bigotry, hate and friendship. The relationship develops smoothly, with fluent dialogue and and easy manner. There is just enough going on to add in some tension but not drama for the sake of it. It's a sleepy, gentle, relaxed telling of a story that can touch the heart and raise the hackles but has you coming away with a feeling of satisfaction. Justice has been served and everything's alright in the end.