The Vine Witch – Book Review

The Vine Witch #1 By: Luanne G. Smith
Published On: October 1, 2019
No. of Pages: 263

Sometimes it’s all in the timing of when you read a book.

Initially, I picked The Vine Witch as one of my Amazon First Reads. They don’t always offer fantasy or science fiction, mostly it is thrillers and a non-fiction memoir. So when it was offered, I grabbed it. Except, I didn’t read it. I’m a mood reader and the mood wasn’t right. The first reviews I saw had it between 3 and 4 stars. They weren’t bad, they just didn’t inspire me to read it, so I put it on the back burner. But, The Glamourist (Vine Witch #2) is coming out soon and I really was drawn to the cover. So in addition to being a mood reader I am also someone who reads a book based solely on cover – I picked it up. But you can’t read book 2 without reading book 1, so that’s where I started.

The Vine Witch starts out a bit unusually – with the main character under a specific curse. A curse isn’t unusual, but what she was and what she did to get out of it was. I’ve never seen a book start out this particular way and perhaps that’s when I realized I was hooked. Elena finding a way to remove the curse and return to her life felt like sitting next to a babbling brook. It was slow and easy and very calming. The first half didn’t have action scene after action scene. Instead, it introduced us to the characters, their land, and their specific brand of magic. It showed us around the town and gave Jean-Paul a tart to eat at the local bakery. A tart that you made you think “there’s a bit of magic going on here and perhaps a hint of romance.”

For those who love action-adventure, this part starts around half-way through the book when Elena finds herself in an undesirable situation. I knew the action part would occur eventually, but was still a little sad since I had been enjoying the ‘babbling brook.’ However, I ended up enjoying the second half too, just differently. I also found more issues with it that I didn’t have in the first half. Some of the antagonist’s magic or what they had to do get rid of the villain didn’t set right. Perhaps there was something in it that felt too much like real witchcraft and not fake/fantasy witchery. The second half also includes an incredibly long speech by the villain in the book. I know soliloquy’s are the mainstay to being a villain, but I never expected the villain to talk that much.

Even with its faults, I still enjoyed the story and look forward to book 2, especially since it has such a lovely cover.

Rating: 3.5 stars

Description:

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

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