REVIEW: Beginning of Forever by Catherine Bybee

Posted July 2nd, 2023 by in Blog, Contemporary Romance, HJ Recommends, Review / 18 comments


In Beginning of Forever by Catherine Bybee, Family comes first for the D’Angelos and Giovanni wouldn’t have it any other way. So what if he’s had to put his plans of one day running his very own winery on the back burner? He’d do anything for his loved ones and their beloved family restaurant in Little Italy, San Diego. Then an unexpected trip to Tuscany sets Gio on another path. One of his own choosing. The wine tour proves to be inspiring as well as bringing new friends into his life he won’t soon forget. Particularly Emma Rutledge. Beautiful, smart, and a tad feisty, Gio soon can’t imagine not having Emma in his life on a daily basis. But it will take some convincing. Because as clearly as he can picture them together forever, she can’t seem to see past the issues in their way or how love has let her down in the past.

“Did you forget about the part where you’re looking for ‘the one’ and I’m not looking at all?”
“Minor crossroads, bella,” he said.
“You’re one hell of a flirt.”
“Says the woman who asked me if her butt looked good in her pants.”
She giggled. “Touché.”

Emma has to admit she’s grown tired of trying to work her way up in the family wine business only to be blocked or put down by her father of all people. It’s past time she stands on her own two feet to start her own winery. Those plans dance in her mind as Emma and her best friend Nicole go on a bus tour of wine country in Tuscany, taking in the sights, smells, and sounds of what to her is basically heaven on earth. One of their tour companions, Gio, doesn’t hurt the aesthetics either. A smooth flirt who’s handsome as sin, he tempts Emma in ways she never thought she’d entertain ever again since swearing off men. But is it smart to start a relationship when her life is in such disarray? It seems like all signs point to yes, when Gio steps up time after time once they return home and she digs in to making her dreams come true.

“Are you telling me you love me, amore?”
Emma twisted in his arms, placed hers around his waist. “Love is scary.”
“Not when two people love with the same amount of their hearts.”

Catherine Bybee’s newest D’Angelos novel, Beginning of Forever, made my heart happy. And how could it not, with a detailed tour of gorgeous Tuscany, memorable characters, the love of family, and a swoon-worthy romance that overcame every obstacle thrown its way.

He placed a hand to the side of her face. “I have room for one woman in my life and that is you.”
His words felt like a declaration. His kiss felt like a promise.

I’m definitely a fan of slow-burn romance and I have to say that nobody does it better than Catherine Bybee. In Beginning of Forever, we followed Gio and Emma, Californians who each went on a bus tour of Tuscany for their birthdays–and who unexpectedly hit it off while exploring the beautiful Italian countryside. The spark between them was intense and happened quickly. The romance itself, though, took time. Gio basically had to coax Emma into giving them a chance as she had already been burned in love before. But he was definitely up for the challenge and took wooing to a whole new level.

I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed all of the people Emma and Gio met during their travels. From the San Francisco Friends (three guys from the Bay area) to the Golden Girls (a group of senior women from Florida who were hilarious) to the Newlywed Couple off in their own little world, they were most certainly an entertaining bunch. And they could all see what was happening between Gio and Emma–and tried to help the romance flourish in their own ways.

It was once the tour was over and real life started kicking in that it was up to the new couple to work things out. And boy weren’t they put to the test. Emma’s career, family issues, and health concerns were a major part of it. But Gio and his loud but absolutely lovely family were with her every step of the way, as to be expected from the close-knit D’Angelos, who were more than happy to pull Emma into their fold. *dreamy sigh*

QOTD: Have you ever been on a wine tour or gone to any wine tastings locally? If so, any favorite brands you’ve tried?

Book Info:

Publication: June 27th, 2023 | Montlake | The D’Angelos #3

From New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Catherine Bybee comes the story of two wine enthusiasts who ride the ups and downs of love in the vineyards of Tuscany.

Tasting wine is not enough: sommelier Giovanni D’Angelo wants to create it. To put his family first, he’s always deferred his dreams—a vineyard to run, a woman to marry. But a three-week vineyard tour in Italy could set him back on track.

For Emma Rutledge, wine is in her blood. Intent to run the family wine business one day, she finds that the men in her family are only intent to push her out of it. But that’s fine—she’s got a plan.

When Gio and Emma meet on a wine tour in Tuscany, their shared aspirations fuel an undeniable chemistry. Returning home to California, they work toward setting up Emma’s vineyard and a label of their own. But when Emma receives a life-altering diagnosis, she worries it’s all been for nothing.

As Emma works to cement her family legacy while dealing with this unexpected challenge, Gio tries to convince her that their future isn’t just wine.

It’s each other.



18 Responses to “REVIEW: Beginning of Forever by Catherine Bybee”

    • Michele H

      Me neither, Amy! But it’s on my bucket list! 😉 Happy reading to you!

  1. Glenda M

    When I was little my mom and grandma took us to visit several wineries in California. As a 7 year old, I thought it was a waste to spit out the wine instead of swallowing it.

    • Michele H

      That’s too funny, Glenda! I can definitely see a 7-year-old thinking that! LOL 🙂

  2. Banana cake

    I’ve never gone on a wine tour. There are several vineyards about 30 miles from me.

    • Michele H

      Sounds like you’re in a prime location if you decide to go on a tour in the future! 🙂 Happy reading!

  3. Kathleen O

    I loved this book. I have been on a couple of wine tours, just local winery’s.

    • Michele H

      So glad you loved it too, Kathleen! Catherine’s books are always great, right? 🙂 I’ve heard local wineries can be just as much fun as visiting them abroad, but without the travel woes. lol

  4. Latesha B.

    I’ve never been on a wine tour or attended a wine tasting, but I would like to do both. Thank you for the review.

    • Michele H

      Thanks, Latesha! It definitely sounds like a lot of fun to go on a tour or to a tasting. Hopefully you’ll get to do so one day soon! 🙂

  5. Dianne Casey

    I have been on wine tours in Napa, Michigan and Illinois. Lynfred Winery’s some great wines.

    • Michele H

      Nice, Dianne! I’m sure each region had their own signature tastes and labels. Thanks for the tip on Lynfred Winery! We’ll be checking that out… 😉

  6. Amy R

    Have you ever been on a wine tour or gone to any wine tastings locally? No

    • Michele H

      I haven’t either, Amy. 🙂 But who knows what the future holds!

  7. Susan C

    Looking forward to reading more about the D’Angelos. Haven’t been on a wine tour or wine tasking.

    • Michele H

      Yay! The D’Angelos are great, aren’t they? They’re the type of family I’d love to spend time with in real life. 🙂 Happy reading to you, Susan!

  8. Ellen C.

    We enjoy visiting wineries when we visit the Finger Lakes in New York. Many fun places to visit and taste.