TITLE: The Vine Witch
BY: Luanne G. Smith
SERIES: Vine Witch #1
GENRE/S: Fantasy, Paranormal, Romance
PUBLICATION: October 1st 2019 by 47North
NOTE/S: Day-A-Thon May 2020
Set in a turn-of-the-century France, a young witch named Elena Boureanu emerged from a curse and finds out that she’d been under the curse longer than she thought. Château Renard, the only home she’d known is in ruin and in the hands of a new owner, vigneron Jean-Paul Martel. Elena knew Château Renard is under a hex but Jean-Paul is a believer of science and doesn’t believe in vine witches in keeping the vineyard. Keeping her identity, she stayed to help Jean-Paul and at the same time, cook her revenge against whoever cursed her. But other evil forces are set to threaten her, Jean-Paul, the vineyard and the ancient vine witch legacy in Chanceaux Valley.
“She was Elena, disciple of the All Knowing and daughter of the Chanceaux Valley. And she was free.”— Luanne G. Smith (The Vine Witch)
I want to start with the main characters because Elena is so easy to like. Her strong will is admirable. It’s what made her break the curse that supposedly permanent. She’s also a witch with honor. Not only she is loyal to the vineyard she is pledged to as a vine witch, but she’s also set not to use witchery to gain power and money. And her fiery attitude is entertaining to read. Jean-Paul is a bit lame, in my opinion. Their romance is almost slow-burn but it’s half-baked. But I still like them, even Jean-Paul. Besides Jean-Paul’s skepticism in regards to magic added some flavor to the story, and being mortal makes him a liability to Elena. Especially in the last part of the book with the big reveal about the killings that are happening in Chanceaux Valley.
The beginning and the last part are my favorite parts. The book has the most intriguing opening lines, I’m hooked right away. And the last part because then the pace finally catches up. Yes, the pacing is slow. Some things that are happening interest me like the killings of animals that suggested blood magic, the lifting of the hexes in the vineyard, the development of the romance, Elena’s revenge plan, and the issue about her ex. I love the mystery that goes along with all these plot elements, but the pacing is really, really slow. I also think the whole story lacks some bang if you know what I mean. I was expecting some powerful fights among witches. But aside from that climax, there are not enough scenes that showed how powerful the witches are. And they are powerful, especially Elena.
On the other hand, the witchery, or the magic in general, is very well-constructed. Chanceaux Valley in the era of this book is known for wines and vine witches. By the way, all the talks of wine and vineyards made me salivate for wine and I just added visiting vineyards in my itinerary.
Anyway, the vine witches are accepted and hired to help the vineyards. It’s fascinating, really. The system that makes the witches accepted is very well-constructed and interesting. They even have separate law officers for everything paranormal. And the magic. I liked reading about rituals, potions and even the way Elena reads a book is fascinating for me. But what is shown so far is not enough. Hopefully, the author shows more in the next books.
As for the side characters, I’m afraid not all of them are developed enough. In fact, they feel like just cameos in the story even though some of them are really, really interesting. They would’ve made the story even better if their characters were used more. Like Bastien, Elena’s ex who she thinks is the one responsible for her curse. He could’ve provided more angst to the romance aspect and more conflict to the wine business especially because from the very beginning, he was painted as a ruthless, power-hungry businessman and he is. But aside from one meeting with him asking to buy Château Renard, there’s no another sign of his ruthlessness as a businessman. There’s also Inspector Aubrey Nettles. He could be an interesting character but he’s so one-sided. I can say the same thing about the villain. The villain is just plain evil and even cliche. I do like Sidra and Yvette – a jinni and a witch, respectively. Elena met them halfway through the book. I won’t say much about them because they’re the main characters in the next books.
RATING: 3.5 blissful pages with lilies
Overall, I enjoyed this book. It’s slow and not much is happening throughout the book but somehow, it kept my interest till the end.
Have you read this book? Or planning to? What do you think of it? Let’s chat.
FOLLOW ME ELSEWHERE…