This is a redo post for the 10/4/19 book review created with my previous “broken” theme. The sharing buttons were missing. I apologize for the inconvenience.Colleen Chesebro
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.
Prime members enjoyed two FREE pre-release Kindle books for the month of September, and “The Vine Witch,” was my first pick. This title releases on October 1, 2019, and is the first book in a two-book series.
I love fantasy and witches, so naturally; I had to read this book. Let me begin by saying that this was a debut novel, the likes I’ve never read before. Bravo to the author for creating such highly entertaining characters with an unpredictable plot!
“The Vine Witch” begins somewhere in France in the middle of a dark swamp. After reading a few pages, I realized that the main character was a frog. Not just any frog, but one that had endured an evil curse.
With great fortitude of spirit, Elena Boureanu eventually breaks the spell that cursed her. Now, seven years later, she emerges in a weakened state. Without her magical abilities, she’s left defenseless.
Elena finds her way back to Château Renard and the vineyard that has been her home since birth. If she can get back to Grand-Mère, she knows the older witch will help her figure out who placed the curse on her.
Upon her arrival, Elena sees that Château Renard is in disarray. Even worse, the home she was to inherit is now in the possession of a handsome stranger who doesn’t believe in witchcraft.
Obsessed by revenge, Elena won’t rest until she can thwart the evil powers that threaten her, Jean-Paul, and the ancient vine-witch legacy in the rolling hills of the Chanceaux Valley.
Excellent characters and dialogue kept the story moving forward until the shocking twist at the end. I thought the world-building was brilliant. Part of my intrigue was that the witches insured the success of the wine as they managed the vineyards. Not only that, other people in the community accepted the witches’ spell use instead of prosecuting them for practicing magic. What a novel concept in fantasy.
There’s plenty of magic and evil to keep the reader engaged. The themes of love, betrayal, and revenge figure prominently – the perfect ingredients for a fantasy novel. I couldn’t put this one down.
Even stranger, after finishing this book, I discovered a strange compulsion for wine. Just remember to read and drink responsibly.
*I follow the Amazon Rating System*
Luanne G. Smith is the author of THE VINE WITCH, a historical fantasy novel about witches, wine, and revenge set in early 20th century France, and the forthcoming second book in The Vine Witch 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.
Author bio: luannegsmith.com
Luanne is represented by The Stringer Literary Agency.
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