Burgundy: Twisted Roots By Janet Hubbard: Review/Giveaway/Guest Post

Dec 2, 2017 | 2017 Articles, Kathleen Costa, Mysteryrat's Maze

by Kathleen Costa
& Janet Hubbard

This week we have a review of the latest book in Janet Hubbard’s Vengeance in the Vineyard Mystery series, and a fun Christmas guest post by Janet. Details at the end of this post on how to enter to win a copy of Burgundy: Twisted Roots, along with a link to purchase the book where a portion goes to help support KRL, and a link to purchase it from Amazon.

Burgundy: Twisted Roots: Vengeance in the Vineyard Mystery Trilogy by Janet Hubbard
Review by Kathleen Costa

bookBonjour! I was offered a chance to read Janet Hubbard’s third book in her Vengeance in the Vineyard Mystery trilogy, so off I went to explore the storyline and reviews: French vineyards, French wine, French culture, and French murder? I’m in! Janet Hubbard has earned rave reviews for her series introducing Maxine ‘Max’ Maguire, daughter of a legendary New York cop and a disowned French aristocrat, in Champagne: The Farewell first published in 2012. She herself is a New York detective, and when a murder occurs at a friend’s wedding, she can’t help but channel her DNA. However, she is shut out of the investigation, and a new, possible love interest, Olivier Chaumont, an examining magistrate, is put in charge. This won’t stop her, and when Olivier’s progress is also hindered, the two partner up to uncover family secrets, wine competitors, and a long list of suspects to consider. The series continues in 2014 with Bordeaux: The Bitter Finish, and Max has been hired as a bodyguard to a famous American wine critic and to a highly valued, and under scrutiny, bottle of wine. When the critic is found dead and the wine stolen, Max has no choice but to garner assistance from Olivier. Together they explore wine clubs, counterfeiting, and a suspect list of one-percenters on both sides of the Atlantic. Magnifique! Everything a cozy fan and eager Francophile would enjoy.

Burgundy: Twisted Roots earns 5/5 Glasses of Burgundy…À Votre Santé!

bookI eagerly started with the third book in the series, Burgundy: Twisted Roots, released in September 2017, and having read the synopses and reviews for the first two books and the backstory and character connections revisited in the third, I did not have that newbie handicap. Janet starts off with a difficult family issue: Max and her mother Juliette, and her not-so-eager father Hank, are heading to France to reconnect with Juliette’s mother: a difficulty since the last time Juliette and Hank were with her family she was being harassed and subsequently disinherited because she choose to marry an American. A year ago, Max had met her grandmother when she was part of the security for an American wine critic, and she was eager to have everyone together. But, returning to France isn’t all family reunions, Max is anticipating her romantic reunion with Olivier. There had been a couple of failed opportunities for a marriage proposal, and over the past six-month separation, they had been texting, emailing, disappointing FaceTime, and even sending a few heartfelt handwritten letters (well, he did). Max is very excited to reconnect, and maybe make some decisions about pressing a proposal.

Beyond the engaging family and relationship dramas, intriguing descriptions of wine, food, and the French countryside, and fascinating and informative references to wine lore and culture, we have a missing girl. Lucy Kendrick had shown up wanting to work in the vineyards, lore paints ‘ill’ happenings when women are in the vineyards, but this white-haired, blue-eyed American, some think may have a ‘nose’ for wine, has got everyone’s attention. Next, she’s gone without much of a trace, and Max and Olivier are enlisted to find her and unravel the mystery that surrounds her. Then, reports of a party, the girl was a guest, and a death of a private investigator…murder? The girl just went from victim to possible suspect. Well, it isn’t as simple as that with all of the twists and turns, photographs and eavesdropping, and more are put in jeopardy. This is a great ending to a marvelous series!

Janet Hubbard has so much to offer about her travels, her personal connections, and her writings, and with the holidays around the corner, what do fans and Francophiles alike want? Christmas French style…Joyeux Noël!

Kathleen Costa is a long-time resident of the Central Valley, and although born in Idaho, she considers herself a “California Girl.” Graduating from CSU-Sacramento, she is a 35+ year veteran teacher having taught in grades 1-8 in schools from Sacramento to Los Angeles to Stockton to Lodi. Currently Kathleen is enjoying her retirement revitalizing hobbies along with exploring writing, reading for pleasure, and spending 24/7 with her husband.

A French Christmas Menu
By Janet Hubbard

Because my mystery trilogy (Vengeance in the Vineyard) is set in the wine districts of France—Champagne, Bordeaux, and Burgundy—my focus for this essay will be on a French Christmas dinner. As many of you know, all three regions produce some of the finest wines in the world, with a price to match the rarity. But they only comprise 39 vineyards in Burgundy, for instance, while there are thousands of vineyards that produce superb wines that are more affordable. It takes curiosity, and a hint of adventure (and the internet) to find them.

The Christmas Eve meal in France is called Réveillon. The French begin with an amuse-bouche, or appetizer. And a chorus of friends agreed that oysters on the half shell (assiette d’huîtres) is de rigueur. I was staying in a harbor village four years ago at the northern tip of Brittany, and the dozen of us who had gathered for Christmas Eve walked to the ocean in the late afternoon and found ourselves plucking oysters off the rocks and gulping them on the spot.


Janet Hubbard

Today as I was creating a menu for my typical French holiday dinner, a Facebook post popped up, and there was Tristan de Bourbon, French friend and journalist living in London, offering a photo of succulent oysters on the half shell with a bottle of white wine beside it. I commented, what’s the wine? He waxed rhapsodic about the 2010 Beaujolais in the photograph, produced by Olivier Coquard. He said, “It’s old enough to work amazingly on those oysters.” Tristan’s taste is impeccable, which is why I am stepped outside my three wine regions. While writing Burgundy: Twisted Roots, I stayed with a friend, Nancy Ebersberg, in Viré, in the south. Her neighbor, vigneron Jean-Marie Chaland’s Domaine des Chazelles Viré-Clessé 2016 is superb, which would also be a fine match with raw oysters. And the price is right ($20) as is the score (overall 90). oysters janet

Another amuse-bouche considered de rigueur for many is foie gras, usually served on toast, and sometimes accompanied by something sweet, like a fig jam. I have no reservations about suggesting the fabulous champagne, Perrier Cuvée Joséphine, produced by the Joseph Perrier company, as an accompaniment. Because the Joséphine is in the $100 price range in the U.S., you can find other Joseph Perrier champagnes at more reasonable prices. (If you go to my website, the banner at the top is a photograph of a beautiful house in Cumières, Champagne, and this is where my first novel in the series, Champagne: The Farewell, is set.) A Sauternes that isn’t too sweet is often served with foie gras, but Nancy likes to serve a Bordeaux, perhaps a Médoc or a Graves.

I vacillated between writing about capon (a rooster that is gelded at a young age, and weighs in at seven to twelve pounds) or pheasant for the main course, but food writer Meg Bortin (www.everydayfrenchchef.com), who is responsible for the menus in my third novel, Burgundy: Twisted Roots, thought pheasant more appropriate for a smaller table. To accompany the capon, chapon in French, Meg suggested a veggie puree of celeriac or chestnuts or pumpkin, with a sprig of watercress to brighten the palate. (Listen to the poetry of this!) She is running a series this month on French holiday recipes, and I can’t recommend it enough.

Now for the wine for the entrée, or main course. From my online research, I would suggest a light Burgundy red—the 2012 Domaine Jean & Gilles Lafouge Auxey-Duresses Premier Cru Les Duresses at $33—suggested by Lettie Teague in her article for The Wall Street Journal titled, “Burgundy Wines that Won’t Break the Bank.” I set much of Burgundy: Twisted Roots in Auxey-Duresses, which Teague refers to as a humbler wine appellation. (The highest appellation for a Burgundy wine is grand cru with stratospheric prices, but next in line are the premier cru, many of which are exceptional. She also mentioned a pinot noir—the Burgundians invented pinot noir!—the 2013 Domaine Dureuil-Janthial Vauvry Rully Premier Cru at $36. If you lean towards a Bordeaux, the Château Le Boscq Cru Bourgeois Saint-Estèphe is a good choice.

After the entrée, a salad with a simple vinaigrette dressing is brought to the table. Wine was rarely served with salad in the past, but these days the rules are not so stringent. A plate of cheese and a baguette will accompany the salad, usually a combination of a hard cheese, a soft, and a blue. Red wine goes well with most cheeses, though Reisling rates high in the minds of some connoisseurs. And finally, dessert! The custom is to serve a Bûche de Noël or Yule log. It could be served with a Roussillon or a sweet Muscat. Or you can never go wrong with champagne! An early Joyeux Noël to all!

Be a Big Janet Hubbard Fan!
Janet Hubbard grew up in a small town in southern Virginia (South Hill, VA), where oysters on the half shell have been served at Christmas since the days of George Washington. She finished her BA Degree at New York University, and spent a decade in the publishing industry in Manhattan, with a year off spent in Paris, which began her love affair with all things French. She moved to Vermont in 1979 and had two children—and wrote twenty-four non-fiction books for teens for Chelsea House Publishers in New York under her married name, Janet Hubbard-Brown. She currently divides her time between Vermont and France.

Like, Visit, and Follow…Oh, my!
Facebook Like – Janet Hubbard (Brown)
Website – Janet Hubbard (Events, Books, Blog)
Website – Janet Hubbard/Check out the Writing Workshop in Wyoming

To enter to win a copy of Burgundy: Twisted Roots, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “burgundy,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen December 9, 2017. U.S. residents only. If entering via email please include your mailing address, and if via comment please include your email address.

Check out other mystery articles, reviews, book giveaways & short stories in our mystery section.

Use this link to purchase the book & a portion goes to help support KRL & indie bookstore Mysterious Galaxy:

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Disclosure: This post contains links to an affiliate program, for which we receive a few cents if you make purchases. KRL also receives free copies of most of the books that it reviews, that are provided in exchange for an honest review of the book.


  1. This is a new to me series but sounds like a great plot. Merry Christmas to All.

  2. Thank you for the chance.
    Lamonicaks at gmail dot com

  3. I’d love to read this–ty for the chance.

  4. Sounds like a lovely Christmas tradition! We go Italian at my house, so French is totally new for me.
    karen94066 at aol dot com

  5. Sounds like an amazing read. Would like to read.

  6. I’d love a copy! My email is somesmartcookle @ aol.com
    Please note cookle is with an L not an i.
    Thanks for the chance!

  7. Another new series to me, it’s got my attention that’s for sure. Thank you for the opportunity to win this giveaway!
    Happy Holidays to everyone!

  8. We have a winner!


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