TOO CLOSE TO THE SUN
Gabriella DeLuca, a second-generation winemaker at Suncrest Vineyards, is about to face a few changes. First she must exorcise thoughts of her former Italian lover. Then she has to deal with Max Winsted, the incompetent prodigal son of the owner who's taking over the family vineyard. And then, just as she meets Will Henley, her father suffers a heart attack.
Will is a hotshot San Francisco executive who wants to acquire Suncrest for his private-equity firm, but he can't tell Gabby that. He's been meeting with Ava Winsted, who's using him as a pawn to get her son to take the business seriously. When Gabby's father collapses at a dinner, Will lends a hand and stays with the DeLuca family all the way to the hospital.
When Gabby learns the truth about Will, she isn't happy. She wants everything to remain as it's been, with her working alongside her father at Suncrest. But when Max seriously mucks things up, and it looks like Will's company will succeed in their takeover, Gabby secretly flies to Italy to convince her ex to make a counter-offer for the Winsteds' vineyard.
Dempsey's characters are lifelike, and the Napa Valley setting is so important that it too becomes a character. The author has created a memorable tale, and even minor characters are given their due. This is one of those books that you don't want to put down until you've reached the end. (Aug., 375 pp., $6.99)