The Gin Club
LUCA HEYWOOD, former chemist and failed family man, is attempting to save the childhood home he hates—a historic farm—with his hand-crafted Magnolia Gin. The gin is his passion; the farm is his purgatory, a constant reminder of the tragedy that stole his best friend.
But he’s flat broke, groundhogs are destroying his botanicals, and his grand distillery opening is a grand bust. His ex-wife could be right: “If you build it, no one will come. Who the hell drinks Southern gin?”
She drops another bombshell when she delivers their anxious, artistically-gifted son to the farm for a month of father/son bonding: Zander tanked 9th grade.
Zander knows why—he’s being bullied—but he’s not sharing.
After Luca enlists a motley crew of volunteers to help put his gin on the map, Zander becomes intrigued by his dad’s new posse. He sketches a group of unlikely superheroes called the Gin Club: the Pretender, an actor who oozes confidences but hides a dark secret; the Guardian, a Thor-like lawyer who volunteers with kids at risk; The Fixer, a retired banker obsessed with humanely relocating groundhogs; and the Preacher, a gin-loving minister whose warm laugh contradicts sad eyes. At the center is the guy they lean on: his dad, the Leaner.
When Zander’s safety is threatened, Luca realizes these guys have the power to save more than his distillery. Maybe they can also help him find forgiveness for his friend’s death, reclaim his connection to the land, and make the farm into the foundation of a new family.
How did I research Luca's passion for handcrafting southern gin? By foraging in the forest with the Piedmont Picnic Project (I ate Carolina juniper berries for supper), interviewing local distillers and farmers, and touring historic tobacco barns. I'm still working on the gin tasting …