The Vine Witch
Vine Witch #1
Luanne G. Smith
Publisher: Brilliance Audio
Publication Date: October 1st 2019
Format: Physical ARC
A young witch emerges from a curse to find her world upended in this gripping fantasy of betrayal, vengeance, and self-discovery set in turn-of-the-century France.
For centuries, the vineyards at Château Renard have depended on the talent of their vine witches, whose spells help create the world-renowned wine of the Chanceaux Valley. Then the skill of divining harvests fell into ruin when sorcière Elena Boureanu was blindsided by a curse. Now, after breaking the spell that confined her to the shallows of a marshland and weakened her magic, Elena is struggling to return to her former life. And the vineyard she was destined to inherit is now in the possession of a handsome stranger.
Vigneron Jean-Paul Martel naively favors science over superstition, and he certainly doesn’t endorse the locals’ belief in witches. But Elena knows a hex when she sees one, and the vineyard is covered in them. To stay on and help the vines recover, she’ll have to hide her true identity, along with her plans for revenge against whoever stole seven winters of her life. And she won’t rest until she can defy the evil powers that are still a threat to herself, Jean-Paul, and the ancient vine-witch legacy in the rolling hills of the Chanceaux Valley.
You had to respect the grapes. That was the first lesson. Wine, after all, was a living, breathing thing. Each wine its own entity, each vintage as unique as the heart and mind of the witch who crafted it.
The best way I can describe this book is charming. Vine witches and beer witches and jinn and the supernatural. Poison and revenge and murder mystery. Romance and passion and really a quick read that makes you break out your bottle of red wine by the fireplace.I’m too young to drink, so don’t look at me for recommendations.
She was Elena, disciple of the All Knowing and daughter of the Chaneaux Valley. And she was free.
The premise itself is probably the strongest part of this book- it’s an atmospheric, 20th century setting, watching the process of how magic is executed, the writing very much gets you in that headspace. And though this book’s center is mystery and magic, the characters are who I paid attention to the most. I know I probably sound repetitive, but Elena was also charming in her aloof confidence in her abilities, even after 7 years cursed.
Even Jean-Paul, the skeptic, science based wine maker who is haven’t bad luck making the perfect cup has his own thing going. He’s not an idiot, he has his own issues, yet he’s still open minded enough to learn some things.
The art of poison might run in your blood, but never doubt you were meant to be a vine witch.”
However, I think my main issue with this book that’s preventing me from pushing it to a full four star rating would have to be the execution? I found myself flying through this book, yet it didn’t feel fully fledged- it had a feel of something lacking. The last third of the book was full of infodumping and I did find myself getting bored.
The romance was also something I wanted to like, but found myself feeling underwhelmed by? It was another thing that felt underdeveloped. I liked them together objectively- magic vs. science, opposites begrudgingly attract and I see definite potential for them in future installments, but I just wanted more fleshed out chemistry.
Yet, this was a really easy, breezy read. And when I initially started this, I didn’t realize it was a series??? Soooooooo, guess who intrigued???
Luanne G. Smith is the author of THE VINE WITCH, a fantasy novel about witches, wine, and revenge set in early 20th century France, and the forthcoming second book in the series, THE GLAMOURIST. She’s lucky enough to live inColorado at the base of the beautiful Rocky Mountains, where she enjoys reading, gardening, hiking, a glass of wine at the end of the day, and finding the magic in everyday life.