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The Vine Witch by Luanne G. Smith
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The Vine Witch (edition 2019)

by Luanne G. Smith (Author)

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1244153,573 (3.7)6
"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 Chateau 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 sorciere 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"--FantasticFiction.com.… (more)
Member:AlexDraven
Title:The Vine Witch
Authors:Luanne G. Smith (Author)
Info:47North (2019), 263 pages
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The Vine Witch by Luanne G. Smith

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I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

In this fun fairy tale novel , a “vine witch” in France at the prior turn of the century is gifted with wine-making magic. Witches in this world can have different kinds of magic, including baking magic; sex magic; or brewery or vineyard magic (I’ll take some of each, please).

Naturally, there is also black magic, with blood and demons and pentagrams. At the beginning of the book, Elena Boureanu, the vine witch of Château Renard—specializing in Pinot Noir–has been turned into a toad by someone using the forbidden black arts, and changes herself back after seven years hopping around in the swamp. Elena vows revenge against her enchanter, who has also hexed her entire vineyard, which was once legendary but hasn’t turned out a decent bottle in precisely seven years. The grapes mold on the vine and the oldest vines are literally depressed. If any grapes are actually harvested, a resident gargoyle pisses on them, just to make sure the wine will be extra sour.

It’s up to Elena to save the vineyard, and the gargoyle is only one difficulty. While Elena was a toad, a distractingly handsome vigneron, Jean-Paul Martel took over the vineyard from her grand-mère, and he isn’t having any of this superstitious magic nonsense with the new Age of Science dawning. Great wine, Jean-Paul insists, is a simple matter of weather, chemistry, and timing. Elena runs into many other magical obstacles as well, but she finds some magical allies along the way, with both astonishing powers and gutsiness in a crisis.
This is Luanne Smith’s debut, and it shows considerable promise within the fantasy genre.

While I was “all in” the Chanceaux Valley, and didn’t want to put the book down for even a minute, I felt that the novel was rushed and possibly over-edited. Elena is a great character but the other characters were insufficiently fleshed out, the romance was rushed, the friendships were rushed, the showdown with the enemy was rushed, the plot twists at the end were rushed. The only aspect of the book that was not rushed was the magic. Various spells are described in scrumptious detail, and I wanted more of the same for the whole book. I hope that in the sequel, "The Glamourist" (to be released in June 2020), the author takes it nice and slow, as her talent certainly warrants. ( )
1 vote jillrhudy | Oct 19, 2019 |
The Vine Witch gives us an original premise and old world magic full of spells, potions, and curses.

I was a bit spellbound by this book. Or maybe I was enchanted. Either way, I really enjoyed the story!

Luanne Smith's writing has an easy flow that invites us in and carries us along on the journey. While this is fantasy, the story feels realistic, weaving witches into the community of winemakers, and blending curses with human greed.

I felt our witch's connection to the land, love of her craft, and desperation to save the dying vineyard. The romance has a slow build, which I liked, though the connection ultimately felt lackluster to me. I wanted a little more from the ending.

Prior to reading this, I didn't know it was the first in a series. It's the perfect opener to this world of witchcraft. This story has a solid ending, so no cliffhangers forcing you on to the next book.

*I received a free copy in exchange for my honest review.* ( )
  Darcia | Oct 17, 2019 |
The Vine Witch
Book 1
by Luanne G. Smith
2019
47 North

Elena awakens from a 7 year curse that ch!mgwd her into a road. Now she is a vine Witch, a witch whose spells help create the world- renowed wine of Chanceaux Valley but confined to a marshland and her magic has been weakened.
Jean Paul does not believe in.magic. hes a firm believer in science. Elena can see the vineland us full of hexes threatening the vines, but Jean does not think so. If Elens stays, her past will be uncovered. If she leaves, it could end the vines forever.
Revenge, betrayal and self discovery all play a part in this historical fantasy novel of early 20th century France. Looking forward to Book 2. ( )
  over.the.edge | Oct 16, 2019 |
When a book starts from the viewpoint of a toad, you know you're reading an original and unusual story. Elena is a vine witch, one who uses her spells to enhance the vineyards of the Château Renard, a common occupation in the Chanceaux Valley. When she finally reverses the curse that changed her to a toad, she returns to find that the Chateau has been sold. Jean-Paul is a man of science who scoffs at the country folk and their witchcraft, but his vines aren't doing well and he doesn't know why.
This is such a fun story. Elena comes back for revenge but her inbred sympathy for the vineyards vies with her darker instinct. Jean-Paul is a city man who must amend his deeply held beliefs in order to save his vineyard. There are some good twists that keep the plot moving forward. This is a great debut novel, and I hope to read more from this author in future. ( )
  N.W.Moors | Sep 8, 2019 |
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