Hi bookworms! I am so excited to be one of today’s tour stops for The Vine Witch by Luanne G. Smith, which is being hosted by The Fantastic Flying Book Club. Be sure to check out the other amazing tour stops scheduled here.
The Vine Witch
Author: Luanne G. Smith
Publication Date: 01 October 2019
Genre: Adult Fiction – Fantasy/Mystery
Publisher: 47North (Amazon Publishing)
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 know when you first hear about a book and based off of the premise, it is everything you need in life as soon as humanely possible?! This was that book for me. I mean witches and wine…that right there is my life essence, and unsurprisingly, this book did not disappoint.
Elena Boureanu is a vine witch. Well, let’s back up. Our first introduction to Elena is through the lens of a toad. She’s desperately trying to shake a transfiguration curse that left her as a toad for seven years. While living off snails and moths wasn’t pleasant, she finally is able to change back relatively unscathed (well, minus that one toe that will never grow back). Elena finally returns to her beloved home and vineyard: Château Renard, but she immediately can tell that Grand-mere’s (Madame Gardin) witch sight isn’t what it’s used. The vineyard is swarming with hexes, and the wine being produced (if you can even call it that) is a far cry from the award winning wines the vineyard is known for.
Next we meet the vigneron Jean-Paul Martel. He’s a successful attorney by trade, but it’s not his life calling. When the opportunity to purchase Château Renard from Madame Gardin becomes available, he immediately jumps at the idea of being able to make great wine. He still allows Madame Gardin to stay at the Château, but he is a man of science and refuses to believe in the superstitious ways of the vine witches. He’s determine to make great wine with the knowledge of science and no one can tell him otherwise; especially not Elena the vine witch of Château Renard.
There were so many things that I absolutely loved about this story. First off, when Elena is walking through the vineyard and describes the minerality of the terroir and how those characteristics are transferred to the wine, I just wanted to get lost in red wine all day (and I may or may not have while reading this book). I loved that her love for the vines that she was raised around was palpable. You could literally feel her need to be surrounded by the vines.
As a scientist, I definitely understood why Jean-Paul refused to budge on the idea of making wine with the aid of a vine witch versus science and technology. However, his stubbornness was frustrating since it was clear the vineyard was dying. Once he started to embrace Elena’s knowledge and abilities though, watching the chemistry between them unfold was something to behold.
Besides the vine magic and slow-burn romance, I also really enjoyed the murder mysteries that arose from finding the witch who was wielding blood magic. This aspect of the novel was dark and definitely reminiscent of the thrillers that I read. It was a welcomed layer to the complexity of this story.
Overall, this is a captivating and thought provoking read filled to the brim with magic and lore. Make sure you grab your nearest bottle of wine and get lost in this incredible story.
Thank you to Luanne Smith, Wunderkind PR, and Amazon Publishing (47North) for my review copy. This did not influence my review. All opinions are my own.
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 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.
Have you read The Vine Witch? Is the Vine Witch on your TBR?