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Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Book Review: The Vine Witch by Luanne G. Smith

The Vine Witch
by Luanne G. Smith
October 1, 2019
263 pages
Cleverly crafted…The Vine Witch is a grown-up fairy tale with a twisty-turn-y storyline of magic, love, and betrayal that holds your attention…Pure escapism.” —Forbes

A young witch emerges from a curse to find her world upended in this gripping fantasy 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.

I loved the beginning of this story about a witch cursed to spend her life as a frog. I thought: “Wow, how clever. This should be interesting”. Then came the rest of the story. Don’t get me wrong, I liked the book and did finish it but was disappointed with some of the mundane intervals of the plot.

Elena is a Vine witch bonded to a particular vineyard. She breaks the curse and finds her way back only to discover the vineyard that she grew up in and thought would be hers one day, had been sold. Her only “relative” now part of the service staff.

The story regales her struggles to remain with the vineyard and discover the cause of some “blight” that has overtaken this once world renowned wine making establishment. The new owner doesn’t believe in the need for any type magic in the process of growing his fruit and many times puts Elena at odds with his vision. Needless to say they don’t get along in the first half of the story but in most of these stories...things change and romance becomes a major theme in the second half of the book.

It’s not on my top 25% of recommended books but if you like wine, vineyards, a little mystery and romance AND a quirky twist, this should keep you entertained for a couple days. In addition, this book is complete as a single read! Kind of nice in this world of installment stories.

Getting 3.5 “beware of the mold” sheep.


About the Author:
Luanne G. Smith is the author of THE VINE WITCH, a historical fantasy novel about witches, wine, and revenge set in early 20th century France, and the forthcoming second book in The Vine Witch series, THE GLAMOURIST. She’s lucky enough to live in Colorado 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.

Luanne is represented by The Stringer Literary Agency.

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