The Vine Witch
by Luanne G. Smith
A Paranormal Fantasy novel published by 47North (Amazon Publishing) on October 1st 2019. The Vine Witch is Luanne G. Smith’s first novel.
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.
Yet it was little salve to the innocent souls still crying out for mercy in the prison’s halls.
The Vine Witch was absolutely amazing. I hated myself every time I had to put it down. From the very beginning, this book completely captivated me. The descriptions, the characters, and the magic.
Luanne G. Smith did the impossible with her writing. She made it seem as though it were a steampunk fantasy TV show come to life. Granted, the vast majority of the turn of the 20th century was like a steampunk fantasy what with automobiles sharing the road with horse-and-carriages. But still. The descriptions from both Point of Views was such a juxtaposition that it reminded me a little bit of the TV show Firefly.
Jean-Paul stood in his kitchen, bewildered
by the sudden warren of cupboards
and drawers surrounding him.
The Vine Witch was immersive and thought provoking. Because the two main PoVs switched between Elena, the Vine Witch, and Jean-Paul, the non-believer, the reader got to see both sides of the age old argument of is it or isn’t it. The turns that that argument took in the story were surprising and, honestly, has me wondering why more people aren’t like those two. They don’t even have to winemakers. Or have magic. But they were each willing to listen to the other and learn and acknowledge that neither of them knew everything there was to know about their world. Magic or otherwise.
Speaking of the characters. Whew. Those two needed an ice bath. Like majorly. The best part was that the chemistry, while explosive, was not overtly so. It was subtle and comforting, like smelling fresh baked goods. But when they collided, it was like a bomb. Like a really, really good doughnut.
He held the woman;s hand, opting to appease
her long enough to avoid further confrontation,
but then he was going inside to get drunk and give
serious consideration to an asking price
for the vineyard.
Not only were they explosive together, but they also helped each other grow. As people. Which I love. As mentioned above, Elena and Jean-Paul challenged each other’s world view and, in doing so, made the other know more about everything. Jean-Paul especially. He went from looking at the old town superstition like just that to thinking that maybe humans don’t know everything and somethings can’t be immediately explained.
Not only was it an entertaining story about love and revenge. But they also talked A LOT about wine making.
Now I am still in the nascent stages of my wine experience. But it was such a fascinating look into the process of making the drink. I kind of want to drink more wine. Just to see if I can see what they were talking about.
I was utterly captivated by the storyline of The Vine Witch and can’t wait to see what else Luanne G. Smith comes up with.
Let me know what you think!