Book Review: Madame Pommery

I was lucky enough to get an advanced review copy of Rebecca Rosenberg’s latest novel “Madam Pommery: Creator of Brut Champagne.” It’s part of the Champagne Widows Novel series. (Amazon)

“Chaque jour de ta vie est un feuillet de ton histoire que tu écris.”*

Overall, I found the book to be an easy read – perfect for the porch in the sunshine. It did make me want a glass of bubbly to go with the book. I didn’t know much about Jeanne Alexandrine Louise Pommery (née Mélin) before I started the book, and in the end, I feel like I learned a lot.

At times I felt as if my mother, with her Victorian manners was speaking with the commentary about what a good wife, widow or woman does or does not do. Louise followed most social conventions, but she also broke the rules. “One must never discuss controversial subjects at a party.” In fact, pictures of Louise remind me of my mother and Grand’Mere.

I don’t want to give away too much, but it was nice to have the brief interlude with Napoléon and Empress Eugenie without being overwhelmed with Napoleonic history and the war which was also going on during Pommery’s lifetime.

I think my favorite chapter was nine – where there is a conversation between the Widow Cliquot and the Widow Pommery, as Pommery has decided to stop making red wine and start make champagne. I love the idea of her going to her rival and competitor for help getting started, and knowing that as a widow, she understands the struggles that are ahead of her. I won’t spoil what Veuve Clicquot does, but I’ve read the chapter at least twice.

Final Thoughts

All in all, this is an easy read. The only disappointment is that the author presents no bibliography for her sources, so it is difficult to take it as more than just a work of fiction. I would have liked to see her references to understand where some of the quotes at the beginning of each part come from and their source as their are bits and pieces of trivia I would like to know if they are true or not – like the painting “The Gleaners” – which according to the Musee-Orsay makes the story from Rosenberg only partially correct, which makes me question other references.

Regardless, it was still a good read and I would recommend it to anyone interested in wine, champagne and the history of either.

*Every day of your life is a a sheet of the story you write.

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