The Vintner’s Daughter

TVD CoverLoire Valley, 1895. When seventeen-year-old Sara Thibault’s father is killed in a mudslide, her mother sells their vineyard to a rival family, whose eldest son marries Sara’s sister, Lydia. But a violent tragedy compels Sara and her sister to flee to New York, forcing Sara to put aside her dream to follow in her father’s footsteps as a master winemaker.

Meanwhile, Philippe Lemieux has arrived in California with the ambition of owning the largest vineyard in Napa by 1900. When he receives word of his brother’s death in France, he resolves to bring the killer to justice. Sara has travelled to California in hopes of making her own way in the winemaking world. When she encounters Philippe in a Napa vineyard, they are instantly drawn to one another, but Sara knows he is the one man who could return her family’s vineyard to her, or send her straight to the guillotine.

A riveting, romantic tale of betrayal, retribution, love and redemption, Kristen Harnisch’s debut novel immerses readers in the rich vineyard culture of both the Old and New Worlds, the burgeoning cities of turn-of-the-century America and a spirited heroine’s fight to determine her destiny.

Kristen Harnisch drew upon her extensive research and experiences living in San Francisco and visiting the Loire Valley to create the story for The Vintner’s Daughter.  Ms. Harnisch has a degree in economics from Villanova University.  The Vintner’s Daughter is the first in a series about the rapidly changing world of vineyard life at the turn of the century.

Praise for The Vintner’s Daughter


The Vintner’s Daughter won the Bronze Medal for Historical Fiction in the 2015 Readers’ Favorite International Book Contest!

PQ Stamp of Approval (1)The Vintner’s Daughter was a Pulpwood Queens Book Club Selection for February 2015!

Staff Pick, Books By the Sea Bookstore

Listed on Reading Group Choices’ “40 Books to Enjoy this Summer”

A Savvy Verse & Wit Best Book of 2014

Named “Best Fun Fictional Wine Book” and “A Great Escape Book for Wine Lovers” by Wine Country Getaways

“[A] fast-moving romantic saga about two independent, ambitious people hoping to succeed in winemaking….This relaxing summer read offers an enjoyable armchair voyage to wine country.”

Historical Novels Review

“One of the novel’s highlights is it’s rich history of the wine-making process through the eyes of a woman who is passionate and meticulous about each step…In the beginning , [Sara] endures nonstop pain and loss, but these tragedies transform her from a smart, hardworking girl into an independent, resourceful woman. At its core,The Vintner’s Daughter is a story of perseverance and transcending one’s past.


“A young French woman, determined to pursue her dreams, shows resourcefulness and endurance as she journeys from her home to America in a novel set in the late 1800s…the plot is engaging and well-paced. Wine aficionados and fans of romance and historical fiction will drink this in.”

—Kirkus Reviews

“Reading [The Vintner’s Daughter] has absolutely rekindled my love for reading! I am still so excited to have read a book that described so much of my life! Thank you so very much for the work you do! I am looking forward to reading your next one!”

Julia-Marie Cassidy, Real-Life Vintner’s Daughter, Salem Oak Vineyards

Lush and evocative, this novel brings the Loire Valley and its glorious vineyards to life in a story that will delight readers everywhere.  Enjoy with your favorite glass of Merlot!”

Adriana Trigiani, bestselling author of The Shoemaker’s Wife

“A lovely novel with sparkling dialogue, intricate plot and great characters. This tale of a young girl determined to hold onto to her beloved father’s vineyard in the Loire Valley will invoke inevitable comparisons to Gone with the Wind. Sara is a girl with grit and determination, and seizes what she wants from life with both hands, evolving over the course of the novel from an impetuous, headstrong girl to a mature woman. A pleasure.”

Roberta Rich, author of The Harem Midwife and The Midwife of Venice

An accomplished debut novel about passion and betrayal, loss and redemption, The Vintner’s Daughter takes you on a journey through vineyard-filled valleys on two continents, in language so evocative that after I turned the last page, I expected to look up and see the Loire.”

Janie Chang, author of Three Souls

The Vintner’s Daughter is as compelling and complex as its heroine, taking us on an unforgettable journey from France to California’s Napa Valley, where providence rules and passions collide. Kristen Harnisch skillfully weaves the history of the wine industry into a visceral and haunting love story—to be read with a favorite glass of wine.”

Holly Lynn Payne, author of The Virgin’s Knot and Damascena

“Harnisch has crafted a emotional journey of a young woman coming into her own in the modern world and learning to forgive and be forgiven. Stunning debut.

Savvy Verse & Wit

 “If you are looking for a fascinating look into the world of wine making with a look back to its start in California with a bit of romance and intrigue then I recommend this book to you.”

Broken Teepee

 “From the very first page The Vintner’s Daughter by Kristen Harnisch held me rapt within its pages….The Vintner’s Daughter was a really good read – one of my favorites this year. Sara, with her strength and independence is a great character and I connected with her and her story instantly. The Vintner’s Daughter…is the first in a series portraying vineyard life at the turn of the century. I’ll be watching for the next one for sure!”

Peeking Between the Pages

 “Sara is a protagonist that the reader can’t help but root for….Harnisch has taken a familiar story of family loyalty, loss, love, and redemption and given it her own stamp with the wine element. Fans of historical romantic fiction will enjoy The Vintner’s Daughter

The Bookworm’s World

 “The Vintner’s Daughter is a wonderful first novel from Kristen Harnisch. You will definitely lose yourself in the tantalizing world of winemaking. It’s a world full of passion, love and need. It’s a remarkable read.”

Kinx’s Book Nook

 Sara’s courage and fortitude will win over readers….Read or listen to this charmer if you love wine, France, and historical fiction with a romantic touch and accurate details.”

Hungry for Good Books?

 “Expertly written, and thoroughly researched, Harnisch’s first novel is a pleasure to read.  Page after page delivers vivid descriptions of the colorful country and the sensual process that is wine making. She has mastered the art of storytelling and delivered her readers, dare I say it – the perfect novel.

—Black Dog Speaks 


Recent Posts

  1. The California Wife is featured in October’s Woman’s World! Leave a reply
  2. Writing the Past: The Devil’s in the Details 4 Replies
  3. Goodreads Giveaway! Leave a reply
  4. Historical Novelist Peter Golden on Transforming Real People into Fictional Characters and much more! Leave a reply
  5. My Interview with NYT Bestselling Authors Karen White, Beatriz Williams & Lauren Willig Leave a reply
  6. Thanks for the Shout-Out, HarperCollins Canada!! Leave a reply
  7. The Globe and Mail Reviews The California Wife! Leave a reply
  8. The California Wife is Available Today in Canada! 1 Reply
  9. The California Wife: Available in Canada on January 26! Leave a reply