I would class Pandora's Bottle by Joanne Sydney Lessner as a delightful read. Sy Hampton, a millionaire wine connoisseur, bids half a million dollars for a bottle of 1787 Chateau Lafitte once owned by Thomas Jefferson. It is the last of the batch, and said to have properties that would render it still drinkable 200 years later. Seems pretty straight forward, right? But as Sy looks over his life, he finds that he cannot come up with anyone he knows that he wants to drink it with. When he picks a person to drink it with, the story really starts to take off. As the plot progresses, Joanne Sidney Lesser introduces us to several quirky, fun characters surrounding Sy and the drinking of his bottle of wine.
I found this book enticingly easy to get sucked into as the author has a wonderfully intimate writing style. I was amazed at what a wonderful story she could craft around something as simple as the opening and drinking of a bottle of wine. At each point, I felt that I was right there with the characters, feeling their joys and pains. Another plus with this book was the cast of characters, many of whom had wonderful prophetic names. In fact, I found the author's use of the whimsical character names said almost as much about the characters as their actions did. It was one of the things I liked about this book the most. Another was the way that the characters actions and decisions did not just happen in a vacuum, but had real consequences that both shaped them and the story. In addition, I felt that the author included enough wine details to draw in the wine aficionados without losing the casual reader. Finally, I thought the conclusion to the story had just the right mix of realism and happy ending.
As I said above, I found this story a delightful read which kept me turning pages and allowed me to finish quickly. This was no earth shattering, life changing book, but it was a fun, entertaining escape and as such I gave it 4 stars. Would I read another book by this author? Yes, I would and hope she has more in the pipeline coming soon.
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