There are some secrets that are better left that way… In this gripping novel of twisted moral dilemmas, a man tries to save his troubled marriage by taking a trip to Napa Valley after secretly winning the lottery.
Paul Wall’s marriage is in trouble. In addition to losing his job, he loses all of his self-esteem, and soon his wife, Ginger, is as unhappy as he is. However, when Paul wins millions of dollars in the Georgia state lottery, he concocts a master plan to regain his wife’s love.
A passionate wine drinker, Paul convinces Ginger to accompany him on a trip to romantic Napa Valley, but Paul keeps his winnings a secret; he wants to win her back on his own merits. Ginger insists her mom, a recent widow, travels with them. Paul then insists his mom, recently divorced, joins them. This quartet of characters travels together to California and, with the influx of wine loosening their inhibitions, they end up revealing secrets better left untold.
With controversial ethical dilemmas at its heart, The Truth is in the Wine is a remarkable and riveting novel that will put you in the characters’ shoes, wondering what you’d do next if you had millions of dollars to spend and a marriage and relationships to save.
Curtis Bunn is an Essence magazine #1 bestselling author and has been featured in many publications, including Black Enterprise, Uptown, and Rolling Out. He is the author of four novels, and the founder of the National Book Club Conference, an organization that hosts an annual literary event for African-American readers and authors.
The pain shot up Ginger Wall’s left arm, a jolt that rendered half of her body immobile. Her heartbeat was rapid, even though it felt like her chest was collapsing. Breathing was a chore. She was sure she was going to die.
No one was around to help her. No one was around because there was no one in her life. Her husband was her husband, but pretty much in name only; their marriage was on a spectacular descent. And he was in the house, anyway. Her daughter, whom she had smothered like a blanket, was just off to college. The few friends she maintained were kept at a distance. She was alone, and that thought pushed her to the edge of death.
Unable to move and desperate for air, Ginger resigned herself to dying—right there behind the wheel of her Lexus coupe in the garage of her modest townhouse near downtown Atlanta.
Seconds went by, then minutes, and finally she passed out. When she came to a few minutes later, the pain was gone. She could breathe easily. There was relief of the pressure she felt on her chest.
It almost seemed like a dream, like she pulled into the garage and passed out from exhaustion, and that scary moment came to her in her sleep. The reality was that the thought of entering a loveless house paralyzed her with anxiety and fear. She knew it was not a dream because her face was damp with tears.
Ginger had recently returned from dropping off her only child, Helena, at college. Paul, her husband, said his goodbyes to his baby girl at the airport, a fear of flying keeping him from making the trip to Washington, D.C.
But not her mom. Helena had become Ginger’s everything. Right around the time Paul was laid off from his job as a heating and air conditioning repair specialist was when their marriage turned into an eighteen-wheeler going downhill with no brakes. He lost his self-esteem and she, eventually, lost interest. The combination made for a mundane existence and rapid fall over an eleven-month period.
This was not easy to accept for Ginger. She was crushed, crestfallen. It was if someone had died. As if she had died.
Only she hadn’t. She was alive, but not living. To breathe, Ginger threw what was left of herself into Helena, serving as mother, chef, security, fan, chauffeur and anything else that kept her occupied and gave her some sense of fulfillment. That was why she pleaded with her child to attend a local college; her going away was akin to pulling the plug on the activity in Ginger’s life.
“Mom, you know I love you and I’m going to miss you,” Helena said when she decided to attend college in Washington, D.C. “But I’ve got to get away. Not from you, but from Atlanta. You are the one who told me when I turned fifteen that I should go to school out of town, that it would help me to grow up and be responsible. Ever since then that has been my goal. Plus, you have Dad.”
Somehow, through the strife, they managed to shield Helena, to, indeed, fool her. She thought her parents were in a fulfilling relationship. If she had taken the time to really pay attention, she would have noticed that all the cheery conversation around the house was between her and her mom or her and her dad. There was only token dialogue between her parents, and none of it loving.
But she was merely seventeen when the downturn began; her life was the focal point of her existence. She simply did not notice.
One night while Helena was at a school play, the troubles in the marriage reached a crescendo.
“I thought about it. I thought about it a lot,” Paul said, rising from the dinner table with Ginger. “I’ve got to go.”
Ginger had a forkful of risotto headed toward her mouth when he said that. She dropped it into her plate below. He said it so casually, as one would reveal it was raining outside. The words registered with Ginger instantly, but for a nanosecond, though, she thought he meant he had to leave the dining room because there was a game on television he had to see. Or that he was tired and needed to go to bed early. Or that he wanted something from the store and had to go and get it. It could not have meant what it really sounded like he meant. It was not what he said; it was the way he said it that clued her in.
So, she did what anyone would do: She asked for confirmation. “What do you mean?”
Paul continued toward the kitchen. He did not bother to turn around.
“Divorce, Ginger,” he said, again so nonchalantly that it was staggering. “Divorce.”
Ginger reached for her glass of homemade tea and knocked it over, spilling its contents across the table and onto the hardwood floor. She was frozen there, unable to move until her emotions switched from confusion to anger. It was not April Fool’s Day and Paul was not a joking kind of man. He, in fact, had become so serious, that Ginger and Helena privately called him “Heart Attack,” as in “Serious as a heart attack.”
Her anger allowed her to rise from the table and storm her way to the kitchen, where Paul was uncorking a second bottle of Malbec from the vast collection of wines he coveted like rare coins. He did not share the first bottle with his wife.
Ginger was five-foot-six, but appeared smaller when side-by-side with Paul, who was eight inches taller.
Looking up at him, she demanded: “What are you talking about, Paul?”
Ginger raised her voice when her husband did not answer. “Paul, what the hell are you talking about?”
“Don’t act like this is some surprise,” he said, finally. There was an edge to his voice—and a coldness, too. “This has been building for a while now. I’m fifty years old. You’re only forty-seven. And—”
“Are you drunk? I’m forty-three,” Ginger interrupted.
“No, I’m not drunk. And, okay, you’re forty-three,” Paul went on. “Anyway, we have some time to live still. Face it: We’re not good together anymore.”
“And this is the result?” Ginger asked. “You making a decision for both of us? No discussion about it? No counseling? Nothing? And what about our daughter, Paul? What about her?”
“Helena is a smart girl and she’s strong,” he said. “She will adjust. She’ll be fine.”
Ginger was not so sure about that. She and her daughter were close, but she was a daddy’s girl. This news would rock her.
“Well, you tell her why you’re breaking up this family,” Ginger said. “You tell her that she and I are not good enough for you.”
“This is not about Helena,” Paul said, and a chill ran through Ginger’s body despite how heated she was.
“So, it’s about me? You don’t want me anymore?” she asked. It was a rhetorical question because she knew the answer. But Paul answered anyway.
“I’m simply not sure about this marriage anymore,” he said. He sipped his wine. “I’m sorry. I really am. I can’t make you happy. And you don’t try to make me happy. We’ve had sex one time in the last nine months. One time, a few weeks ago. And that was because we both were drunk.
“So why should we stay in a marriage for appearance sake? Or even for Helena? It wouldn’t be teaching her the right thing.”
“And it’s teaching her the right thing by breaking up her family?” Ginger asked. She wanted to continue, but it suddenly hit her that going back and forth with Paul would give him the impression she was trying to convince him to stay, which she did not want to do. No doubt, she was devastated and hurt; she had built her life around her family. But she was prideful, too, and somewhere in their back-and-forth she decided, “Fuck him.”
“I only ask that you do two things for me,” she said. “Pick up your daughter from school and explain this to her.”
“I will talk to Helena,” Paul said. “But not tonight.”
“You bastard,” Ginger fired back. “You had it all planned out, huh? So who’s your woman? Who’s your side chick?”
Paul studied his wife, scanned her from head-to-toe and back again. There was a time looking at her smooth skin and full, pouty lips and dark eyes would mesmerize him. Not anymore. He held animus toward her that he did not bother to explain.
“Believe it or not,” he said as calmly as one would give driving directions, “it’s not about being with someone else. It’s about being away from you.”
And as tranquil as Paul was, Ginger turned equally irate. “I have done nothing but love you and be here for you and provide a nice home for you,” she said. “You’re such an egomaniac to try to belittle me. That’s very hateful of you. But it shows you don’t deserve me. You have been depressed since losing your job and I have been supportive and encouraging. Since we’re being honest about everything, let me tell you this: You’re a selfish pig. All you’ve ever thought about was yourself. You never considered how hard this whole thing has been for me. And that makes you a selfish pig.
“I’m woman enough to admit that I’m hurt by all of this. But the more I talk the more strength I get. I don’t mean to call you names, but you’re a loser. And whatever God has in store for you, well, good luck with that because He does not reward selfish pigs.”
“Yeah, that’s really mature, Ginger,” Paul said. “You wishing bad on me. I won’t stoop that low.”
“You’d have to cut off your legs to get any lower than you are,” Ginger said.
“I could say something, but I’m not,” Paul responded. “But I will say this: You call being a nasty, mean, cold person supportive of me? That’s all you have been. And that’s not supportive.”
Paul looked at Ginger with a strange expression. “I’m going to pick up Helena,” he said. “I’ll explain everything to her, but not now. She’s happy. I will, though, in due time.”
“Yeah, right,” Ginger said. “You’ll explain what you want to explain—not the truth, I’m sure.”
Paul finished his wine, corked the bottle and placed it in its proper place among the alphabetized collection. He looked at his wife, who could not detect the pain that engulfed him. He hid it well, but inside he cried. Finally, before tears seeped from his eyes, he turned and walked away.
Ginger was left standing there to struggle with an influx of emotions that came crashing down. She waited until she heard the garage close, indicating Paul had gone.
It was then that she was overcome with a confluence of pain, shock, hurt, disappointment and failure. She cried. She laughed. She perspired—all over a three- or four-minute span. Ginger thought she was having a breakdown. “I’m OK,” she said aloud. “I’m OK.”
I loved it because the conversations were deep, thoughtful, hilarious, and smart. The author painted a vivid picture that had me totally engaged with the characters, I even poured glass after glass of wine as lips loosened and family secrets were spilled. I was there with them enjoying the beautiful scenery of wine country and being educated on wine at the same time.
Just finished reading The Truth is in the Wine!!!! Absolutely loved every minute of it!!!!!! The characters seem VERY familiar to me. I have read ALL of Curtis Bunns books and he is always on point with the story line. This is now defiantly one of my favs! I'm also ready to go out and purchase a bottle of wine.
This story is about a marriage on the rocks," however",the real problem is that this couple(Paul and Ginger Wall), are still very much in love with each other, but, they have let secrets and lies in and these two very powerful negative devices may very well destroy them if they do not do something to change their current situation. So ,they embark on a trip to the Napa Valley Wineries to go on a much needed vacation ,with both of their mothers in tow; which is a recipe for disaster in it self then, they add wine to this already turbulent situation! Wow, and the sparks, start to fly, so you can only imagine the many twists and turns, the Wall's go through with both of their mothers along for the ride. This enjoyable story will take the reader through every emotional stage that the couple, along with their mothers,feel while they drink wine and let the " truth" have its say!
The members of "Turning Pages Book Club" applaud, Mr. Bunn for the exceptional descriptions relating to the wineries in Napa, CA. and the details of how to taste wine, how to pair wines and most of all the great wine list you provided!
The statement made by several members when discussing "The Truth is in the Wine", was "Who Knew"; regarding the wealth of information on wines and the art of wine tasting that the reader receives along with this wonderful story. We were highly impressed,while reading the many adventures that Paul, Ginger and their two mothers go through, as we traveled along with them, while reading, "The Truth is in the Wine".
9 OCT Leave a Comment (Edit) the truth is in the wine
There are some secrets that are better left that way... In this gripping novel of twisted moral dilemmas, a man tries to save his troubled marriage by taking a trip to Napa Valley after secretly winning the lottery.
Paul Wall's marriage is in trouble. In addition to losing his job, he loses all of his self-esteem, and soon his wife, Ginger, is as unhappy as he is. However, when Paul wins millions of dollars in the Georgia state lottery, he concocts a master plan to regain his wife's love.
A passionate wine-drinker, Paul convinces Ginger to accompany him on a trip to romantic Napa Valley, but Paul keeps his winnings a secret; he wants to win her back on his own merits. Ginger insists her mom, a recent widow, travels with them. Paul then insists his mom, recently divorced, join them. This quartet of characters travels together to California and, with the influx of wine loosening their inhibitions, they end up revealing secrets better left untold.
With controversial ethical dilemmas at its heart, The Truth is in the Wine is a remarkable and riveting novel that will put you in the characters' shoes, wondering what you'd do next if you had millions of dollars to spend and a marriage and relationships to save.
The mark of a good book is if it stirs emotion inside of you and if the words on the page can connect with the feelings in your soul. The Truth Is In The Wine by Curtis Bunn accomplishes both. The characters and the situation in the book are quite realistic.
The Truth Is In The Wine is the tale of a married couple (Paul and Ginger) that are disconnected from another. The wife dreads going into her house and the husband has lost all of his moxie aka self-esteem because he has lost his job due to the economy. Sounds like many American families today, huh?
The "D" word is mentioned but they make one last ditch effort to save their marriage by taking a trip to Napa Valley aka Wine Country. And, we all (well, all of us that partake in alcoholic beverages from time to time) know that alcohol is like truth serum. But, will the wine be enough of a catalyst to make Ginger and Paul take a deep look into themselves and their marriage to try to save it?
I must say thanks to Curtis Bunn for writing a book that is meant for people that want to read about adults dealing with grown people situations!!!Read more ›
Great Return to Love Contemporary Romance. Curtis Bunn has given us a light hearted romance set in the wine country, scattered throughout with information about wine. Not only is the book informative, it is entertaining. It centers on a more mature couple, so refreshing. No millionaires and ingenues here, just a well plotted romance with engaging characters and an enjoyable journey back to love. *I received my copy from NetGalley.com in exchange for an honest review.
Paul Wall loses his job and with that his self-esteem. His marriage was affected slowly but surely. Ginger Wall, his wife, put her all into their daughter when their marriage started going south. Paul really loves his wife but suggests a divorce. He wins the lottery. What will his love of wine and his winnings do for his rocky marriage?
This is my first read by Curtis Bunn and I must say it was a great intro. Bunn does an excellent job of pulling readers in from the beginning and arousing their emotions. I loved the character development. Readers know enough to understand but then learn of the secrets with them. Readers feel like they're right there with them. “The Truth is in the Wine” is a book that's not only relatable but also realistic! This family handles some rather difficult issues TOGETHER. Readers will find themselves debating about these issues as well.
Curtis Bunn grew up in Washington, D.C. as a young athlete with ambitions of becoming a sportswriter. And he did just that, studying journalism at Ballou High School and Norfolk State University, where he graduated with a B.A. degree in Journalism. In 1983, he began an award-winning 25-year career as a sportswriter, serving stints at The Washington Times, New York Newsday, New York Daily News and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
In 2001, Bunn took a career turn when he penned his first novel, "Baggage Check," a revealing book about the lives of three male friends unable to find true love because they carried "baggage" or issues from one relationship to the next. The book became a national word-of-mouth success and vaulted to No. 1 on the Essence magazine best-sellers list.
He has authored four more well-received books, including "A Cold Piece Of Work" (Strebor Books/Simon & Schuster, July 2011) and the upcoming novel, "Homecoming Weekend," (Strebor Books/Simon & Schuster, September 2012) about those two eventful days at a historically black college.
Inspired by meeting with reading groups about his novels, Bunn created the National Book Club Conference, which blossomed into a premier annual literary event.
Additionally, he is an adjunct journalism professor at Morehouse College.
He is driven and inspired by his son, Curtis Jr., daughter Gwen and nephew Gordon, who is like a son. When he is not writing, cooking or watching sports, he can be found on the golf course.
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