Wednesday, March 27, 2024

Book Review: Friends in Napa

By Melissa Smoot

Just get yourselves here, everything else is on us.

Raj and Rachel Ranjani have invited a small group of their ride-or-dies from college for a celebratory weekend in Napa Valley. On the agenda: three nights in the couple’s vineyard mansion, a lavish dinner at Napa’s hottest new restaurant, exclusive tastings, and the grand opening of the Ranjanis’ ultra-high-end winery. It’s a reunion of six friends who haven’t seen each other in years. What could go wrong?

To start, there’s the less-than-warm welcome: a brick flung through a window and palpable tension between the hosts. But no worries—all Raj has to do is pop a few bottles of vintage Dom, and the college vibes come rushing back. So do old resentments, animosities, and unrequited crushes. Soon enough, the illusion of friendship shatters like a gossamer wineglass, and one of the friends ends up dead. Everyone has their motivations. Everyone has something to hide.

Here’s to a weekend in the valley. Drink up and watch your back. (Synopsis courtesy of Amazon.)

I have mixed feelings about this story. I loved the Napa setting and how a group of friends from college, now in their forties, were meeting up at a vineyard after years of being apart. I also really liked getting the backstory on every one of the friends. There were so many decades old feuds and plenty of unrequited feelings that it made for good drama. Each character brought a different element to the weekend and it was easy to see that everyone had their own motive for showing up to the winery. 

I will say that I felt that I was waiting and waiting for the big crescendo. I wanted more and I didn’t want it to take the entirety of the story to get to the meat of the plot. Once we got there, I couldn’t put it down and was glad I stayed the course. While I enjoyed the book overall, I did feel that it was slow in getting to the point. I just wanted more of the story and I felt the plot wrapped up a little too quickly.

Thanks to MB Communications for the book in exchange for an honest review. Purchase Friends in Napa here.

Also by Sheila Yasmin Marikar: The Goddess Effect

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