The Dog Doesn’t Die

Book reviews & random thoughts

Does the Dog Die? A Brief Review of The Widow Clicquot, by Tilar J. Mazzeo

I really enjoyed this short book on the life of Barbe-Nicole Clicquot, the woman who, in the early 1800s, turned the Clicquot-Ponsardin winery from a small business to an international champagne powerhouse. As she explains several times throughout the book (we get it, really, we do), author Tilar Mazzeo had very little to work with in the way of a historical record. Barbe-Nicole put in 14-hour days at the business and didn’t have time to write letters or journal entries. So the fact that there is anything here at all is a testament to Mazzeo’s persistence and tenacity.

And in fact, the story is interesting and Mazzeo is a good writer. What more do you want? Barbe-Nicole faced one daunting challenge after another, to the point where you wonder why she didn’t just give up. And these barriers went beyond the fact that women were discouraged from entering business in the Napoleanic era. Everything from political forces to fragile glass to bad crops worked against her. Plus, there was the layabout son-in-law whom she doted on and who apparently thought he was a sure thing to inherit Barbe-Nicole’s empire. And still, she prevailed. As she wrote in a letter to her one surviving great-grandchild, “[Audacity] is a precious quality that has been very useful to me in the course of my long life. … I can be bolder than you realize.”

This is an excellent book, and I recommend it highly.

As for animals, they’re not a factor, so this book is SAFE for animal lovers. Enjoy!

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January 20, 2010 - Posted by | Book Reviews, history, wine | , , , , ,

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