Review: The Vine Witch by Luanne G. Smith

The Vine Witch
Luanne G. Smith
Published October 1, 2019

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About The Vine Witch

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.

My Review

It’s not often that I read a book set in turn-of-the-century France, and I feel like I’m okay with that, but if I’d read more, I think I would have enjoyed the setting of this book more. I liked it, I just felt like it was written more for readers who are already familiar with that type of setting and was kind of spare on details that unfamiliar readers might want to have.

I liked Elena immediately, and Jean-Paul, too. The story alternates back and forth in their points of view. It was fun watching them feel each other out. I thought the other characters– Elena’s grandmother, her former fiancé, and the Elena’s unlikely ally later in the book– were all great characters that added a lot to the story.

In terms of the plot, the story moves pretty quickly. The beginning was a little dense and confusing only because it introduces a lot of characters, goals, and action. Once I’d read four or five chapters, I got pretty hooked on the story and didn’t want to stop reading. I finished the rest of the book that day.

On the whole, I enjoyed THE VINE WITCH. I loved the parts about the vineyard and the tug-of-war between Elena and Jean-Paul over magic versus science. I feel like I wanted the story to be like 50 pages longer so that I could read more about some of the subplots like that.

Content Notes

Recommended for Ages 18 up.

All characters are European.

Profanity/Crude Language Content
Extreme profanity used very infrequently.

Romance/Sexual Content
References to sex. Kissing between man and woman.

Spiritual Content
Descriptions of rituals and spells, including using pentagrams and summoning a demon. One character encounters a jinni.

Violent Content
References to mutilated animals found near the town. Descriptions of torture and situations of peril.

Drug Content
Elena experiments with poisons. Characters (all adults) drink wine.

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About Kasey

Reads things. Writes things. Fluent in sarcasm. Willful optimist. Cat companion, chocolate connoisseur, coffee drinker. There are some who call me Mom.