A Toast to Antoine Laurain’s Vintage 1954

On the 20th of June we published Vintage 1954, and Antoine Laurain’s fans could finally get their hands on his sixth book available in English. Vintage 1954 is quintessential Laurain; a short, rich literary treat packed with whimsy and heart.

At first, the premise of Vintage 1954 might have you saying “I’m sorry it’s got time-travelling what in it?”. Once you get over the idea of downing a bottle of Beaujolais and waking up in the fifties, however, Laurain’s latest settles in nicely with his backlist. Books such as The Portrait, The Red Notebook, and The President’s Hat show how Antoine often uses objects as the central point around which the rest of the narrative moves, and it was only a matter of time before this lifelong Parisian turned the spotlight on wine.


We know that Antoine Laurain has a wide-reaching and devoted English speaking fanbase, but we were still delighted to see how many people anticipated the release of Vintage 1954, and how beautifully and creatively they showed their support on Instagram. Here are just a few of our favourites:

Photo credits and links – left to right, top to bottom:
Yorkshire Book Nerd, Velvet Reads Books, Gallic Books
Reading with Wine, Global Story Books, Books Cooks Looks
Cara Reads Books, Gallic Books, Contrary Reader

We were utterly thrilled by the social media response. We held a week-long blog tour including reviews, extracts and giveaways and want to thank everybody who was involved in that. Sally Akins, Winston’s Dad and Jaffa Reads Too all posted delightful reviews. Reading With Wine and Sissi Reads hosted giveaways, and Pewter Wolf and Velvet Reads Books shared an extract. We are incredibly grateful to them for their work and support.

Vintage 1954 also enjoyed a wave of unprompted reviews and features from readers:

BookMadJo –  “There is a magic to his writing, and the humour and sweetness made me not want to put the book down.”
BookLiterati – “Like a good Beaujolais this book is full bodied, with a lot of character, elegance and a touch of the French Je ne sais quoi.”
O’Reilly Reads – “I’ve read all of Antoine Laurain’s novels and they are absolute gems so to receive a reading copy of his latest book filled me with joy. His writing style is always playful, descriptive with a dry sense of humour.”
Jill Elizabeth – “Jane Aitken has produced the translations of each of his books that I’ve read and each and every time I am amazed at her ability to take a complex, idiom-rich language like French and translate not only the story but the feel into an English that is comprehensible and gorgeous to read. I tip my hat to both…”
TripFiction – “Vintage 1954 is short, written with humour and a pleasure to read.”

For the sake of space we can’t feature every single person who took the time to write about Vintage 1954, but we are incredibly grateful to everyone.

On publication date we took full advantage of all the lovely things everyone was saying, making a nuisance of ourselves by filling the feeds of our eight thousand followers with wine puns and gifs.



We were also delighted by the response from booksellers. In Milwaukee, USA, the staff at Boswell Book Company know Antoine personally, and staff member Daniel Goldin wrote a wonderful piece on the author’s relationship with the shop. He also revealed that the Milwaukeean character in Vintage 1954 is in fact inspired by two real-life Milwaukeeans! Read about it here.

The fantastic booksellers from Waterstones Harrogate devoted an entire window to the release of this “perfect summer read – charming and delightful!”, and sold 27 copies before noon!


We also had followers online, and fans of Antoine, keeping us up to date with the appearances of Vintage in bookshops around the country.



NB Magazine featured Vintage 1954 as their June fiction Book of the Month. Paul Burke shared a review of this “romantic tale of time travelling and affairs of the heart that leaves you feeling a bit better about the world”.

LoveReading’s review stated that, “driven by droll humour and romance, and with a miraculous climax, this is a fabulously full-bodied-book with crisply sweet undertones.”

Foreward Reviews called Vintage 1954 “a must for any Francophile, who will be able to meet Dali, Edith Piaf, Audrey Hepburn, and other luminaries in these pages. A character’s walk through the legendary market of Les Halles at a time when it was in its full glory, all on the way to dinner at Au Veau qui Tete: such scenes are written beautifully, entering fully into the busyness of their settings.”



And of course Vintage 1954 appeared in traditional print. On the weekend before publication, the Daily Mail started our Friday off with a declaration that they “adore Laurain’s novels – they are always funny, romantic, a little sad, and thoroughly Parisian. This latest love letter to the French capital more than keeps up his impressive standard.” The next day the book was declared a ‘must-read’ by the Saturday Express. Finally, the Sunday Mirror recommended it as a summer read, saying “there’s plenty of ‘ooh la la’ to savour in this charming fable of time travel […] delightfully nostalgic escapism set in a gorgeously conjured Paris in 1954.

Vintage has also made appearances in Country Life, Woman & Home, France Magazine and Saga.

We hope you enjoyed this round-up of the publication week of Vintage 1954. We’d like to take this chance to say thank you again to all the wonderful influencers, bloggers, and book lovers who spread the word and share their enthusiasm all over social media. We have been delighted by the readers’ reactions and the success of Vintage 1954 and we couldn’t have done it without you.

Buy the Book Here | An Interview with Antoine Laurain


Posted on July 12, 2019 by Isabelle Flynn in

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