Love, betrayal, money… Here is an explosive trio of themes that often comes up in Katherine Pancol’s novels and which composes the framework of this new pavement. On the outskirts of Bordeaux in 2010, Muriel was forced to leave her children, aged 8 and 10, at Château de Berléac, the family-owned winery where she grew up and never set foot again. for a dozen years. She promises to come back for them as soon as possible, while she investigates to find out if their missing father is still alive. The two children are slowly acclimating to life at the castle, where their grandmother Aliénor, their uncle Ambroise and his second wife live, among others. Over the weeks, they discover the vineyard, participate in the harvest, but unknowingly break a balance frozen for decades in order to preserve appearances. Because the Berléacs are a large Bordeaux family that their neighbors envy, envy and would like to see fall to appropriate their land. Old secrets will be unearthed, infidelities brought to light, and small revolutions will begin in the shadow of inheritance wars.

The French press has often referred to Katherine Pancol’s novels as “easy to read” books. That’s true, but that’s exactly why we love them. It’s the kind of guilty pleasure that feels good, in the summer, when you want a purely entertaining read that allows you to escape, to have fun discovering the (many) family secrets of the Berléacs, or even to dive into a story that we are impatient to find and which, unsurprisingly, ends on a positive note. This skilful mix of humor and mystery, which constitutes the very basis of the great success of the French writer, once again succeeds in seducing while making us discover the vagaries associated with the management of a large wine estate. Plus, it’s so well-written and pleasantly paced that you’ve slipped through 700-plus pages without even realizing it. A “Pancol” is the guarantee of a book that does not disappoint when what you are looking for in a novel is that feeling of being in good company.

Wide open spaces, the destinies of women left to their own devices who must fight to preserve the land they love: the tone may be different, Les vents de sable, by Kristin Hannah (recently published by Michel Lafon), has at least this in common with The bride wore yellow boots. The heroine of the novel, Elsa Martinelli, crosses the 1930s, in the United States, alone with her children, after the departure of her husband. In her determination to safeguard her family’s future, she evokes, in a sense, an American Eleanor of Berléac. A book that is worth the detour, if you like great exciting sagas.