Before Peter met Izzy, he could tell red wine from white wine and knew that cheap Chardonnay was favored by freshmen college girls and that it could cause a terrible headache, but that was it.
Lonely and frustrated with his career, his life takes a sudden turn when he turns on the TV and is transfixed by the woman staring back at him, swirling a glass of wine in her hand—Isabelle Conway, one of the most preeminent sommeliers in the world. Yet there was something about her, somehow he felt like he already knew her, and after a fateful chance encounter on the streets of Chicago, the two embark on a journey through Greece and navigate the mysteries of wine, and the heart, in this rich and insightful novel.
Blackstone's second novel follows the wine-infused romance of Peter Hapworth, self-described "Conceptualist, Teacher, Chicagoan, Swashbuckler, Eater, Drinker, Butcher, Baker, Candlestick Maker," and sommelier Isabelle Conway, star of her own television show, Vintage Attraction. When Peter guests on her show, he winds up with a date, and the two embark on a whirlwind courtship. Izzy's world is a glamorous one, in contrast to Peter's drab academic circles and lackluster dating life. In five weeks, their courtship runs its course through Chicago's restaurant scene, culminating with their hasty elopement. But while Izzy's fortunes rise, Peter is fired from his teaching job and pulled back into an old relationship. When Izzy's friend Pacer Rosencrants begins to pursue her, Peter begins to question his bond with Izzy. To test their love, he follows her on a wine tour of Santorini, Greece. Blackstone has created a likable protagonist in Peter, and a worthy love interest in Izzy, toying with the dynamic of pursuer and pursued. His wine world knowledge is impressive, but the story is riddled with clunky wine world puns among otherwise confident prose. However, the boy meets girl, gets girl, loses girl story he tells is a familiar one that the wine world does little to enliven.