James Circe is an award-winning winemaker and an owner of Collin Oaks Winery. His novels reflect the struggles we all have with the frailties of human nature and how wine has the power to guide us to the first secret of happiness, the healing power of opening ourselves to others.
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The world we live in is a daunting place for most adults, and even more so for a young orphan girl like Collinda. Or is she an orphan? She doesn’t know. She has an emotionally distant grandmother to care for her, but her world is one of imagination and wishing for things that can never be. She turns to the inner world of her own self for comfort, and depends on her wits to keep her life from being dominated by the grown up people around her. As you will discover in the Prologue, she has all the tools she needs to do so.
Collinda finds refuge in her private garden and cottage, but the loneliness of living inside herself drives her to explore her past, seeking both answers and belonging. She is able to unfold the story of her parent’s lives in their idyllic little village with the help of some rather unusual friends. She also discovers where her love of flowers and nonsense comes from, and how these gifts enriched the lives of people who went before her.
For a clever British barrister like Jacob Circe, the wasteful years of revolutions in the eighteenth century had brought opportunity to serve his betters along with the chance to enrich himself. When the fruits of his labor turn sour, he finds himself seeking a sanctuary far away in the wild Kanois country of Virginia. But the evils he has created are too powerful to be left behind. Even as he gathers his family under his wings, they are threatened by his own desires as well as outside forces he cannot control.
Jacob turns to hold his pursuers at bay, but even as he does so he finds he has to sacrifice his dreams just so the others can survive, and watches helplessly as they are scattered far from him. Forced to make the ultimate sacrifice, he sets in motion the path for them to live his dream, to possess their land. As fate steers them down their separate paths to their common destination, they learn to face the devils in their own lives, and only after understanding the meaning of family are they able to conquer their fears and the forces pulling them apart.
A murder mystery. As a guru on an academic mountaintop, Hark likes to stir things up in the social flatlands below. He uses his political writing class as a safe launching pad for hurling verbal lightning bolts into the politics of a cynical world. But he’s careful to keep the lid down on this boiling cauldron even as his targets are adding heat to it. No problem. He’s far above the fray. But his secure little nest is shaken by the arrival of a new assistant, Kristen, a young woman who has other plans for this lofty perch. She wants to solve murders so she can write about them. On Hark’s tight ship, one would think that unlikely. But seemingly without effort, she starts the lid rattling as she leads him into a world of intrigue, romance, and yes, murder.
Getting what you want makes you happy.
Deciding you don't want it makes you content.
Wanting it even though you know you can't have it makes you a loser.