St. Martin's, Dec 2001, 25.95, 406 pp.
In 1990 at the age of ninety-one Joseph “Jock” Whitney dies. Few if any mourn his death and many rejoice at his expiring. The Australian mogul owned and managed the country's biggest wine business, JACARANDA VINES, with an iron fist and an ugly temper that fell upon anyone within his radarscope including beleaguered family members. However, like many despots throughout history, Jock must have felt he would live forever because he failed to properly train his successor. Most business experts anticipate that Jock's survivors will carve up the kingdom of the “King of the Vines” into little duchies before selling off their shares. If nothing else, the civil war between Jock's wife, her brother, and her children and grandchildren will probably kill the company.
For years Jock publicly and privately humiliated his wife Cordelia. Surprisingly, she is the prime person refusing to sell the company. Desperate to find one ally among her relatives, Cordelia relates the family history starting with Rose in 1830 England to her prime hope of a supporter, her granddaughter Sophie.
JACARANDA VINES is an exciting Australian historical tale that spans over a hundred and seventy years, as Cordelia affectionately tells the family history, which enables the reader to understand why she wants to save the firm. The strong story line provides the audience incredible insight into Australia through Cordelia's narrative. Tamara McKinley furbishes a terrific tale that will surely garner her awards and several toasts from readers for this entertainingly deep novel.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner