Review: The Vine Witch by Luanne G. Smith

Posted March 8, 2020 by Kate

Review: The Vine Witch by Luanne G. SmithCheck out on Goodreads | Buy on Amazon
Genres: Adult, Historical Fantasy, Magical Realism
Publisher: 47North
Source: Fantastic Flying Book Tours, Kindle Unlimited

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.

Disclaimer: I received this book free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review, but it doesn’t influence my opinion of the book nor the contents of this review in any way. 

The Vine Witch takes place in France, but not in the current time. It’s definitely a historical fantasy, which is so fun to stink your teeth into every now and then! I especially loved this one because it was atmospheric! But more on that later. The Vine Witch follows sorcière Elena Boureanu, who wakes up after a curse that took seven years of her life from her. We have no idea what happened… and really neither does she. But we try to figure it out, as we head with her to Chanceaux Valley to gather the pieces of her old life. Elena is dead-set on finding and getting her revenge on the person who cursed her, but her first priority is gaining access to and nurturing the Vineyard she grew up in at Château Renard. A vineyard that has fallen in hands outside of her family. 

Indeed, it’s a charming, sexy, charismatic stranger named Jean-Paul Martel that owns her Vineyard now, and he doesn’t believe in the “superstitious” bull-hockey the rest of the village seems to follow. He’s determined to make good wine with science and research and books and wants nothing to do with magic. Which is certainly troublesome for Elena, who needs her Vineyard, which wasn’t doing too well in her absence. 

“She was Elena, the disciple of the All-Knowing and daughter of the Chanceaux Valley. And she was free.”

The plants were what first drew me to this story. I looked at it as a “spooky mystery about a cursed witch that needs to rescue her plants!” Like??? of course I bought a copy. I love reading about plant love. I think that sentence above is exactly how I pitched it to my friends when  I screen-shotted the description and sent it in the group chat. But it’s also available on Kindle Unlimited, so you don’t need to buy a copy to enjoy it :) 

This wasn’t the cozy, cute story that I was expecting. Which I should have guessed off the cover – that doesn’t say cozy mystery at all, does it?? BUT I still loved it. Maybe cozy, spooky mystery? I think that fits. Very different from my expectations, but in a very pleasing, surprising way. It was very practical and not too emotional, as it was told by Elena and Jean-Paul’s perspective, who are both of those things. But it was also surprisingly witty, even as the story seemed to live in the shadows in this supernatural world that Elena is so familiar with – and Jean-Paul is ignorant to. 

Elena is obsessed with revenge and getting her magic back after living for 7 years in a cursed hell, so this was no sweet read. It’s the perfect spooky story to read on a chilly autumnal night… or a blustery winter day. Exclusively while it’s dark outside. The atmosphere of the book is reminiscent of Holly Black’s writing, which I love. Although the book seemed to lag a bit in the middle, I still loved this one and can’t wait to catch up with book two on Kindle Unlimited!! 

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Have you discovered any new reads recently? What are some under-hyped books you think deserve more love? Let me know in the comments below, I’d love to hear from you! 

6 responses to “Review: The Vine Witch by Luanne G. Smith

  1. I loved the fact that it is a story about a spooky witch whose powers are used to tend the grapes too. Totally unlike anything else I’ve read. I picked up #2 on NetGalley and looking forward to seeing where the story goes next. ?

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