The Glamourist – Book Review

The Vine Witch #2 By: Luanne G. Smith
Published On: June 9, 2020

It’s the relaxed atmosphere and mood that draws me to this series. High octane action/adventure novels are great, but the energy those give off often makes me feel a need to rush to the finish. Instead, The Glamourist is a simple story about the next chapter in Elena’s life with her new fiancee, Jean-Paul: Meeting the future mother-in-law. Of course it isn’t really as simple as that since Elena now has to contend with the Ministry of Lineages and Licenses along with finding ways to sneak off to help Yvette out.

Without trying to spoil anything if you haven’t read the first book in the series, in The Vine Witch there is a moment where Elena is thrown in jail and ends up in a cell with two other women – Yvette and Sidra. Without realizing it at the time, it is each of these women who the three books of the Vine Witch series focuses on. Elena is still the main character as she was in The Vine Witch, but The Glamourist now features Yvette’s story. Here Elena comes to the city to meet her future mother-in-law, but before she does she needs approval from the government to continue being a vine witch. The answer is ‘no’ – at least not unless you do one small thing that revolves around Yvette, who is still a condemned murderer and fugitive.

The Prologue opens the story by showing us what happens to Sidra and Yvette directly after the events of the last book. Yvette ‘accidentally’ steals a wish from Sidra and as a result they are now both bound to remain in the city until Yvette’s wish is completed. To say Sidra is unhappy is putting it mildly. She had vowed never to return to that city and is a tad angry about Yvette’s stolen wish. I highly suspect we will get to learn more about this and her vow in the next book.

The stolen wish from Sidra is actually the one piece of the story that befuddles me a bit. Although Sidra tries to explain it to Yvette I never quite understood how it happened or what the wish specifically was or why it locked them there in the city. The wish is what starts Yvette’s story so as a reader as long as I knew that the wish had to be fulfilled and had an inkling of an idea of what the wish was, then I was able to continue reading without too much issue. With all that said, I do wish I had a better grasp on it. But it really doesn’t take too long for us to figure out that this wish has something to do with Yvette learning more about her mother and finding a way to unlock her magic.

Although never explicitly pronounced, one gets the distinct impression that the story is set in Paris. With French phrases and terms sprinkled throughout the story and references to cars and gaslights, you can’t help but believe you are in France in the early 1910s – 1920s. References to various artists and paintings are plentiful giving the early 1920s a definite nod.

The story is told from three POVs: Elena’s, Yvette’s and Henri – a new character that Yvette knew from a long time ago. Elena and Yvette are where most of the story happens with Henri’s chapters occurring less frequently. I liked Henri, but in reality he wasn’t all that memorable. The characters that were memorable though were Alexandre – the owner of a curio shop where all items within are guaranteed to have been enchanted at one point in their life, and Marion – Jean-Paul’s mother who has an interest in the world beyond.

In the end I found I enjoyed this novel more than I did the first one, which felt a little uneven to me. But overall the pacing and tone feels more consistent with this story and would be a lovely choice if you’re looking for a light fantasy story with a dash of romance and one that has a slower pace to it.

Rating: 3.75

Description:

A spellbinding novel of bloodlines, self-discovery, and redemption by the author of the Washington Post bestseller The Vine Witch.

Abandoned as a child in turn-of-the-century Paris, Yvette Lenoir has longed to uncover the secrets of her magical heritage and tap her suppressed powers. But what brave and resourceful Yvette has done to survive the streets has made her a fugitive. With a price on her head, she clings to a memento from her past—what she believes to be a grimoire inherited from the mother she never knew. To unlock the secrets of her past, Yvette trusts in one woman to help solve the arcane riddles among its charmed pages.

Elena Boureanu is the vine witch of Château Renard, noted for its renowned wines. Even as she struggles with her own bloodline—and its poisonous threat to her future—Elena can’t ignore a friend on the run. Joined by a cunning thief, the proprietor of an enchanted-curio shop, and a bewitching black cat, Elena and Yvette are determined to decode Yvette’s mysterious keepsake. But what restless magic will be unleashed? And what are Yvette and Elena willing to risk to become the witches they were destined to be?

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