The Vine Witch

The Vine Witch

by Luanne G. Smith

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Overview

“Cleverly crafted…The Vine Witch is a grown-up fairy tale with a twisty-turn-y story line of magic, love, and betrayal that holds your attention…Pure escapism.” —Forbes

A young witch emerges from a curse to find her world upended in this gripping fantasy 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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781542008389
Publisher: Amazon Publishing
Publication date: 10/01/2019
Series: Vine Witch Series , #1
Pages: 268
Sales rank: 64,319
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.20(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Luanne G. Smith lives in Colorado at the base of the beautiful Rocky Mountains, where she enjoys hiking, gardening, and a glass of good wine at the end of the day. The Vine Witch is her debut novel. For more information, visit www.luannegsmith.com.

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The Vine Witch 3.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 15 reviews.
Valerian70 3 days ago
3.5 Stars This was a very odd book that seemed to have no particular setting - the clothing and lifestyles seemed to hint at medieval but then you would get a motor vehicle thrown in to the mix. Although we are told that the book is set in France there is no French flavour to it at all, it genuinely could have been set anywhere. In truth it was the actual timeline of the story that threw me off, it is pootling along quite nicely with almost a bucolic feel and then something glaringly "modern" raises its head and feels completely anachronistic. I liked the idea of witches specialising in one flavour of magic - so you have vine witches that help with wine making, beer witches that help with brewing of ales, even baking witches that seem to exclusively work love spells. Of course you then have the dark side of all this and this means you need a magical police force - sound familiar? Although, the magical police force in this book are singularly inept and owe more to the Inquisitorial Squad than the Ministry Of Magic; you see where I'm going with the comparison. Of course this was always going to happen, any novel that has magic rooted in the real world is going to be compared to the tour de force that is the Potterverse. There is a lot of telling in this book rather than showing. Now, a certain amount of this I don't mind as it can help move the plot along much more rapidly. Unfortunately, I still felt that the plot lacked tautness and time was spent dwelling on minutiae rather than getting to the point. This wasn't helped by the vast majority of characters, Elena excluded, were really only ciphers and were there because Elena needed someone to bounce off. I did like the concept of the novel - cursed witch manages to break the curse after 7 long, lonely years and makes her way back home only to find the vine yard has been sold to someone who has no idea how to make wine let alone believe in witches. Fortunately her mentor and adoptive grandmother is still at the vineyard as a housekeeper and so starts Elena's journey to restore the vineyard and find the evil being who cursed her. There is a nice twist to the ending which I appreciated and the showdown in the cellars does have a genuine feeling of peril. Overall this is a fun update on fairytales but it just needed a good sharp tug on the plot to tidy things up.
Timitra 5 days ago
The Vine Witch is an interesting and intriguing take on witches. I liked the world and thoroughly enjoyed the story despite it being slow at times. I'm definitely looking forward to reading more of this author's work.
Anonymous 16 days ago
I’ll start off by saying that I really liked this book! Historical fantasy set in an early 20th century France, where automobiles were still scaring carriage horses on the roads and when cinema was having its birth. There is also a light murder mystery and although I wouldn’t call it a romance, there is a strong romantic thread. We first meet the heroine Elena as she emerges from a curse that had turned her into a toad. From that very moment, you can tell that Elena is incredibly determined and dare I say, badass! I won’t ruin the experience of how she escapes the spell, but that was one of my most favourite parts of the story. Burning with the need for revenge, Elena makes her way back to her Grand-mère’s vineyard to find out that it’s been sold in her absence to Jean-Paul, who very definitely does not believe in witches. The author was skilled in creating an atmospheric read and I really enjoyed her world-building where the magic and mundane both complemented and clashed. The plot moved well and there were a few twists that made the story all the more interesting. My only complaint would be on the romance side of things- the protagonists were rather antagonistic over each other and then rather abruptly fell into insta-love. However, their interactions were still quite charming and I wish we could have enjoyed a better build up to the relationship. Overall, this was quite an easy read and I am looking forward to the second book in the series.
Stringchronicity 17 days ago
In The Vine Witch, Luanne G. Smith builds a magical alternate-universe turn-of-the-century France. The setting is very romantic, but also ambitious. Elena is a Vine Witch, apprenticed at a young age to Ariella Gardin, mistress of Château Renard. As the story opens, Elena is in the process of saving herself from a malicious toad transformation. It has been a long two years of fighting the curse placed upon her. A run-in with a local fox during her amphibious adventures has left lasting scars. She returns home to find the vineyard she loves has been sold and hexed. Gardin, the woman she calls Grand-Mère, has lost much of her magic ability to age and grief. Jean-Paul, the new owner of the Château, is a thoroughly modern man. Born and educated in the city, he was a lawyer prior to purchasing the vineyard. Despite his romantic notion to run the business himself, he is a man of science. He is positive that with the right care and maintenance, he can restore Château Renard to its former glory. Without the superstitious nonsense his neighbours rely on. An overzealous investigator accuses Elena of murdering her former fiancé. Inside the magically fortified prison, she makes allies with her cellmates. Jean-Paul uses his background as a lawyer to defend her. Separately, our two protagonists fight for Elena’s freedom and discover just who is responsible for the misery blighting the Château. With a little help from a cheese-making priest, Smith’s world does come together in the end. Elena convinces Jean-Paul to allow her to help set the Château’s fields to rights. What follows is a tale of magic, romance, and revenge. The combination is quite ambitious. Pastoral vineyards overseen by generations of witches rest alongside a magical bureaucracy and early motorcars. Smith has to tread lightly. It would be very easy to make comparisons to the Harry Potter universe, or C. L. Polk’s alternate-Edwardian Aeland. Historically, France has been a dangerous place to display any ability not directly attributable to the Catholic faith. Many people died as a result of being labelled a heretic. Smith does nod at the bloody past. However, I felt it set up a strange dichotomy. On the one hand, witches are seen by the city-dwellers as superstitious folklore. On the other, there is apparently a judicial arm responsible for policing magic-users. If there is a government arm responsible for prosecuting magic-related crimes, how is it that a former practicing lawyer is unable to see the work done in the Vineyards as nothing more than quaint tradition? There’s a particularly fun description of an especially stony garden pest that I’ll let the reader discover on their own. I honestly laughed out loud. I’ll give this book a solid 4/5. Once I got past the main introductions, I had a hard time stopping long enough to make notes. It’s a fairly fast read that should appeal to fans of Naomi Novik’s Uprooted. There is some mild body horror at the beginning of the book. Some might find it a turn-off. I found it helped solidify the stakes right from the beginning. This isn’t a light and fluffy world; Smith’s world is a gritty, earthy place. You must tread carefully or be fatally cursed.
ChasmofBooks 20 days ago
What an opening. Honestly, this book had me hooked from the start, but I didn't really get into it until I was about 100 pages in. This starts out as a seemingly innocuous tale of witches making wine, but grows into something much deadlier. That ending had me SPOOKED. There is no denying it. The characters are each distinct and colorful, which made following everything in the book very easy. I love it when you read a book and you can picture each character so clearly because in some books they can start to blend together. I loved Jean-Paul's change of heart towards magic. It felt very believable and was well done. I can honestly say the same for Elena as well. When we first meet her, she is nearly consumed with revenge but she slowly overcomes this and her more violent tendencies as the book goes on. Very well done. Something that does kind of bother me though is that Elena has a hard time doing magic for much of the book. We know that Jean-Paul helps give this magic life, but I didn't really feel like we were ever given a convincing explanation as to why she had no problem doing magic in the last 100 pages or so, during which she was hardly ever with Jean-Paul. All in all, I enjoyed The Vine Witch. It's not the greatest book I've ever read but if you're looking for a shorter book to read that isn't too spooky, go ahead and pick this one up.
Lainie_H 24 days ago
In the Vine Witch, we meet Elena who has spent the past 7 years under a curse, living as a toad. She returns to the vineyard where she grew up to find it has been sold to a city lawyer, Jean-Paul, who, because he shuns magic, has been unable to produce a decent bottle of wine. Chemistry blooms between the two of them and he is willing to have her help him, but of course, doesn't want her to use magic. I loved the idea of there being different kinds of witches that had different connections to different trades. There was a pastry witch also, and there are potion witches and a fire-Jinni. There is however some black magic going on, with animal exsanguination, and Elena must solve the mystery before she is implicated. I thought a lot of the plot was very predictable, and I could see many of the action points coming a mile off. (so why couldn't they?) I did like the idea of magic going into making a delicious wine, because maybe it really does, and the bits of French were delightful, but it just didn't quite rise to 4 stars for me. I could maybe go 3.5 Thanks to NetGalley for a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review, my opinions are my own.
Kasey_Baril 26 days ago
**Disclaimer: I was given an e-ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.** So, I'm not a wine "Snob", so this book wouldn't have been my first choice, but it was both an ARC I received and an Amazon First Pick... However, this book was GOOD and was SO MANY THINGS - romance, historical fiction, murder mystery, etc.- and I loved every bit. The concept that there are specific witches that focus on specific trades was so interesting, and I'm surprised I don't see it more?? Like, witch-made pastries, wine, clothing, etc. So cool! The dynamic between Elena and Jean-Paul was sweet and fun; it didn't feel like insta-love, but was borderline. The murder/mystery/antagonist was pretty obvious, but it was well done how all the plot points tied together.
Mermer 26 days ago
A paranormal story about Elaina a vine witch and Jean Paul French winery owner and their problems with the vines. Witches,spells,curses,and demons. The. Problems are caused by a curse. Good drama,mystery twist and romance. Voluntarily reviewed.
JillMlibrarian 27 days ago
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. In this fun fairy tale novel , a “vine witch” in France at the prior turn of the century is gifted with wine-making magic. Witches in this world can have different kinds of magic, including baking magic; sex magic; or brewery or vineyard magic (I’ll take some of each, please). Naturally, there is also black magic, with blood and demons and pentagrams. At the beginning of the book, Elena Boureanu, the vine witch of Château Renard—specializing in Pinot Noir–has been turned into a toad by someone using the forbidden black arts, and changes herself back after seven years hopping around in the swamp. Elena vows revenge against her enchanter, who has also hexed her entire vineyard, which was once legendary but hasn’t turned out a decent bottle in precisely seven years. The grapes mold on the vine and the oldest vines are literally depressed. If any grapes are actually harvested, a resident gargoyle pisses on them, just to make sure the wine will be extra sour. It’s up to Elena to save the vineyard, and the gargoyle is only one difficulty. While Elena was a toad, a distractingly handsome vigneron, Jean-Paul Martel took over the vineyard from her grand-mère, and he isn’t having any of this superstitious magic nonsense with the new Age of Science dawning. Great wine, Jean-Paul insists, is a simple matter of weather, chemistry, and timing. Elena runs into many other magical obstacles as well, but she finds some magical allies along the way, with both astonishing powers and gutsiness in a crisis. This is Luanne Smith’s debut, and it shows considerable promise within the fantasy genre. While I was “all in” the Chanceaux Valley, and didn’t want to put the book down for even a minute, I felt that the novel was rushed and possibly over-edited. Elena is a great character but the other characters were insufficiently fleshed out, the romance was rushed, the friendships were rushed, the showdown with the enemy was rushed, the plot twists at the end were rushed. The only aspect of the book that was not rushed was the magic. Various spells are described in scrumptious detail, and I wanted more of the same for the whole book. I hope that in the sequel, "The Glamourist" (to be released in June 2020), the author takes it nice and slow, as her talent certainly warrants.
Anonymous 3 months ago
Wine and witchcraft? Yes, please! This book was a fun way to start off the month of October. The premise of the vine witch is so fascinating; witches whose magic aids in the process of making amazing wine. But when Elena emerges from a curse to find that the vineyard she was supposed to inherit has been purchased by a man who believes strictly in science-based wine making, she doesn’t know what to do or who to turn to. She discovers hexes and spells all over the vines and is set on a mission to discover who cursed her and why her beloved vines are being disturbed. I truly enjoyed this book. It combined three of my favorite things: witchcraft, wine, and a good mystery. The genre is technically fantasy, but the story has some suspense and mysterious elements to it as well as a love story on the side. Elena was an adventurous and brave woman, determined to find out what happened to her and why her vineyards are producing awful wine. She has very little to go on and only one measly clue about the witch who cursed her. She finds help when she makes an unlikely new friend and together they set out to discover the truth. This was a lighthearted and fun read; the perfect way to start my fall reading. I received a free copy from the publisher.
Anonymous 3 months ago
3.5 The writing style is gorgeous. I loved all the descriptors it really lends itself to wine and witchery. Our main character Elena is bound to the vineyard from a young age. She helps curate and make the wine taste divine. That is until one day everything literally changes and she is cursed to live as a frog. She manages to remove said curse and thus beginning the story. I am pleasantly surprised with how enraptured I became. I read it all in one sitting because I had to know how it would end. They mystery elements aren’t hard to figure out but it’s about the journey. And this was an incredible journey. The romance aspect was really great. I loved how they each had each other’s back. This is a standalone which I am kind of bummed about because the world with all sorts of different witches is very interesting, so hopefully more will come. I received a free copy for an honest review from 47North
Marta Cox 3 months ago
Three and a half I saw this beautiful cover and having read the synopsis was really keen to read this book. Its essentially an historical look at the possibilities of Witches in France and has a fabulous beginning with of all things a sentient toad or does it ? Actually no because for seven years Elena, a Vine Witch has been under a curse and when she finally breaks it her return home isn't exactly a pleasure because the Vineyard has been sold . So not only does she have to track down who cursed her but also deal with the new owner ! I liked this but did think the big bad was extremely obvious. Now having said that the final third of this story was very unpredictable because the author added a twist which made everything fall into place. If blunt I thought the romance was lukewarm and pretty one sided unfortunately but I did love the supporting character Yvette as she was so vibrant and I would love read a story about her. This voluntary take is of a copy I requested from Netgalley and my thoughts and comments are honest and I believe fair
WishEnd 3 months ago
3.5 Stars THE VINE WITCH is one of those books that immerses you in its setting, historical with a touch of fantasy. The characters are likable with a mystery and touch of danger that keeps the story engaging from beginning to end. Recommended to historical fantasy readers who like their stories on the lighter side. This reminded me just a little of A Discovery of Witches. It has that same kind of old world feel with a mystery that unfolds as the protagonist, Elena, comes back to herself after a spell. She finds a man has taken over her beloved Château Renard vineyards and she has to piece together what happened and find who cursed her. There are plenty of twists and the story keeps you guessing as to who exactly the villain is (I had a guess, but then I questioned it). There is romance, but it's a bit of a side story, which was just fine. I enjoyed both the character development and the plot of this story. I liked the way Elena has to find herself again and then undergoes a bit of character development as she figures things out. I also really liked the whole idea of a vine witch and how they coax the vines with magic while partnering with nature. The magical aspects are woven into the story in almost an instinctual way that just feels natural, and don't become an intense part of the story until the climatic ending. The whole story just builds to it as the pieces fall into place. And that ending... marvelously done. There were parts of the story that were crude and blunt. There were references to drinking and making love, etc. It's to be somewhat expected in an adult novel, but I would have been okay without the content. In the end, was it what I wished for? I enjoyed reading this. It was easy to fall into and want to stay until the end. Likable characters and an intriguing plot with just the right amount of romance and magic. Content: Closed door scene, references to love scenes, drinking. Source: I received a complimentary copy from the publisher through the Fantastic Flying Book Club, which did not require a positive review nor affect it in any way.
MiyukiNightShade 3 months ago
Disclaimer: I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Thank you to Netgalley, Fantastic Flying Book Club, and 47North for this free copy. All quotes in this review are taken from the Advanced Reader Copy and may change in final publication. Low-key this is how we are introduced to Elena in the first chapter, and we get to witness her transformation from a toad to a woman, and only towards the end of that chapter do we realize that she actually has a name. And she’s freaking pissed. So not only was Elena somehow cursed into a toad by some mysterious jerkhole, but she was cursed to be a toad for seven years, and by the time she makes it back to her Chateau Renard to find out that her home was sold and that some stranger named Jean-Paul Martel is the one living in it. She’s out for revenge, and hopefully the person – or thing – that cursed her all those years ago is still around so she can make them pay. I personally liked the story of Elena, and I love that she really didn’t need a dude to come save her, even though she really did take a while to rescue herself she didn’t just lay down to take it any longer. Her power over the vineyard around her house is one that I personally haven’t seen before, and I like the idea of having power over wine. I may not be a wine drinker, but maybe if I was a vine witch, I could learn to like it. “Mud and silk, blood and milk, never the twain should meet. For if they do. Bad luck to you. ‘Tis the Devil you’ll greet.” Childhood Rhyme Since I’m still not much of a romance person, rather than gushing over that part, I was more into the relationship between Elena and her “Grand-Mere”. Even though they weren’t related by blood, they were still family, and I honestly love those kinds of relationships in novels. It’s almost like a found family, and these two women bonded and took care of one another because of their shared experiences with magic. I’m so glad that Grand-Mere was still around by the time Elena was able to break the curse. I feel like she would have been truly alone if she wasn’t, and that would have been detrimental to her journey of having to re-acclimate into the world she wasn’t apart of for seven years.
Bookishly_Nerdy 4 months ago
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. RIP Firefly 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. 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.