Book Review: The Widows of Champagne by Renee Ryan

August 18, 2021

Recently, I had the opportunity to read recently released, read novel from Love Inspired: Stories to Uplift and Inspire series. 

The Widows of Champagne follows three generations of women from the LeBlanc family as they battle to save the family's vineyard during WWII. The reader will experience their fears, sacrifices, and bravery as each of the women share their story.

The story begins in September 1939, as the war rages in other parts of Europe. Everyone can sense that evil is coming. The Nazis won't stop until they have challenged France.

Then France declares war on Germany.

Yet Germany is quiet for weeks. While the women try to continue life as usual, they are not confident in France's leader and know it's just a matter of time. Gabrielle continues to use her talent for creating excellent vintages and running the vineyard for her grandmother Josephine. Gabrielle's mother, Helene, does her best to remain resolute and keep her youngest daughter Paulette sheltered.

France falls in June 1940. And everything changes.

A German wine importer from the past shows up at their doorstep. Helmut von Schmidt, now a captain in the German armed forces, announces that their beloved chateau is being requisitioned. It will now become von Schmidt's personal lodgings as he organizes regular shipments of the LeBlanc's prized champagne stock to Hitler.

The women do everything they can to preserve the family's vineyard. They each create a desperate yet risky plan to save Chateau Fouche-LeBlanc from their enemies – outside and within.

On a day in town, Gabrielle makes the unfortunate acquaintance with Detective Mueller of the dreaded Gestapo. After that terrifying meeting, their paths cross in future tense circumstances, which always makes her uncomfortable and uneasy. Mueller was not one to be trusted. As the author explains: "There was something in the way he looked at her that brought matters to a very basic level."

There are other acts of subterfuge each woman tries to hide from the others: a hidden journal full of observations, undercover work with Resistance, employment with the enemy -- and 20,000 hidden bottles of celebrated 1928 champagne. They are determined to win – and survive.

Available as a digital read, Widows of Champagne can be found on Amazon, or Harlequin

From the publisherTHE WIDOWS OF CHAMPAGNE delivers a captivating multi-generational narrative that
champions the bond between mothers, daughters and grandmothers as three generations of women battle to
save their family's vineyard during WWII occupied France. This novel explores the WWII subgenre while staying
true to the faith-based characters, relatable themes, and wholesome content that Love Inspired is known for.

After reading the
Widows of Champagne, I can recommend it as a great weekend read. It is the first title that I've read from Renee Ryan. The author has written over 30 books, with two more titles being released later this year. She writes in the genres of historical fiction, suspense, and mystery. (Goodreads)

This historical novel gives a well-written account of the tension, fear, and danger of what many experienced during the war and what people had to do to survive the Nazi occupation for six long years. 

If you homeschool, I would recommend this title for outside reading
if your teen is studying WWII in World History. 

Reading was somewhat slow in the beginning as the first few chapters give each woman's backstory. However, I'm glad I stuck with it since the story quickly picked up and became hard to put down. There are a couple of surprises near the end. Although I can usually determine what may happen in a suspense story, I didn't see some of it coming. That makes it a well-written story for me.

A great quote I highlighted in the book was something Josephine told Gabrielle: 

" Courage is not a single act, Gabrielle, but a mindset that,
like the vines, requires constant tending." 

As of now, this title is only available in a digital format. However, that was beneficial;  because I do not know French, any unfamiliar words could be translated when highlighted in my Kindle app. The digital format makes it a perfect book to take along on your Kindle for that last-minute summer vacation. 

Have you read this book or any other Love Inspired books? 
Let me know in the comments!


  1. Sounds like a great read. Thanks for the recommend.

  2. This sounds very interesting. I haven't read any historical fiction in a long while. I may have to give this one a try. Thank you for the review.

  3. We can all learn from this family's "courage mindset". This was a dark time in history. It's great to read stories like this one that show the courageous actions taken against the tyranny that surrounded them.


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