Print Length: 263 pages
Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1542008387
Publisher: 47North (October 1, 2019)
Publication Date: October 1, 2019
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
It starts with a toad. A slimy one, too, warts and all. But as you may have guessed, with witches involved, this toad just happens to be enchanted. This toad, in fact, is the witch—and now that she’s free, she’s out for revenge against whoever has cursed her.
Elena Boureanu, a former toad, is a vine witch. Her magic is responsible for creating some of the best wine of the age, and her legacy is all but ruined when she finally returns home. The vineyard’s new owner may be handsome, but he’s a city man of science who knows nothing about the valley’s vine witch tradition. And on top of that, Elena can clearly detect dark magic surrounding the estate. She knows her own curse must be connected to the hex on the fields, and she vows to put her world back into balance.
Elena’s story of redemption may be fantasy, but it feels real enough to touch. Reading this novel is like falling into an Instagram picture—atmospheric, and surrounded by the smells and tastes of the natural world. I hope you’ll fall with me. ―Adrienne Procaccini, Editor
This was a quick read, but don’t let that deter you. It may be less than 300 pages, but it packs a lot in. It was such a delight to read, honestly. It’s quite like a fairy tale, where a toad is a person…but in this case, it’s not a prince/princess kissing them to restore them. In fact. our girl saves herself. So if you like a little girl power, you’ll like that. If you like world-building? You’ll love this. Rich, vibrant, descriptions that pull you right in? Yup, right here. I told you; this book has a lot, despite its small page count. There’s a number of quotes that are memorable; though I admit this one is a favorite. The author is a truly gifted storyteller in that she can bring this story to life, not be dull, and is poignant. It’s magic in itself to be such a talent. Each character felt human, the scenarios, despite there being magic involved, were realistic in a lovely way.
What the eye couldn’t see, the imagination-filled in. We put names to the unexplained. Cast it as something to either fear or worship. And yet just because a thing can’t be seen doesn’t mean it isn’t real.
There are several types of witches, apparently, though this book focuses upon the Vine Witches. I suspect that if the series continues, we’ll be introduced to more and I’d be quite happy with that. Fantasy novels weren’t always my cup of tea, admittedly, but I find the allure of them to be quite delightful. I like being able to suspend reality for awhile. I also love to travel back to different eras; Belle Epoque France? Yes, please! (Oui, s’il vous plait!) I think what I especially liked was the rich descriptions. This particular passage got me as I love those flavors. To me, they are autumn. (The brandy isn’t as grand to me, I don’t drink, but still, doesn’t this sound delicious?
The fresh-baked smell captivated him, and he reached for the sticky tart. One bite and the full complexity hit him. The pastry tasted of fruit and nuts, butter and brown sugar, and the rich spices of cinnamon, nutmeg, and cardamom, all heat-seared by fire. Sweet, yes, but also sophisticated, heightened by a hint of salted brandy.
Even though this is the first in a series, it finishes in such a way that if you didn’t want to read the next one (and why wouldn’t you?), it’s a complete read that leaves you satisfied. It’s a refreshing change in a world where it seems like everything has cliffhangers and the like. SOmetimes you just want a good read and you want it to end. I could go on, as I do, but occasionally there’s magic in knowing when to shut my mouth and let you guys read. So…off you go!
Oh! If you’re a wine person? Grab a glass. It’ll be a perfect accent to this historical fantasy. ❤
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 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.
Photo Content from Luanne G. Smith
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.
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