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.
Synopsis from Goodreads
Thank you to Wunderkind PR for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
When I read the synopsis of The Vine Witch, I was really interested in the idea of this tiny French village with it’s famous wine and the witches behind the success of it. I love that Smith was going to rewrite a bit of history to include more magical elements and I was really interested to see where Elena’s story would take us. I’m so happy I had the chance to read it, especially as we get closer to Halloween (I love magical texts at this time of year!).
I absolutely loved how Smith created this world where witches are such a natural and accepted part of the winemaking process. It was wonderful that every time Jean-Paul questioned witches, the locals thought he was the ridiculous one for suggesting that witches didn’t exist. The merging of science with magic, and how Elena was able to use natural items to create her magic, was wonderful and moved beyond the classic boiling and bubbling cauldrons. The inclusion of a magical police force, Covenant Laws, and grounding it all by connecting it with the witch trials that historically happened in Europe was a great way to make witchcraft feel natural.
Not Enough Romance
While I really enjoyed both characters and am happy they were together, I didn’t feel like there was enough physical romance between them over the course of the novel for me to truly believe in their love when it was needed. Well I can understand it’s a different time, and maybe people weren’t as openly and overly romantic in public, the fact that Jean-Paul talks about having sexual with other women tells me that it’s not out of the realm of possibility that these characters definitely could have spent some more romantic time together. there was a very Austen-esque development of their relationship built over a few hand touches and a few months staring at each other. This novel felt so honest in every other way that I would’ve liked to see it in the romance as well.
Strong Ending with Numerous Twists
The final showdown between Elena and the powerful witch causing chaos in town is everything I could have wanted. Two strong women facing off, both believing that their chosen paths are right. Beyond that, getting to hear the history of the witch (I’m purposefully not using names to avoid spoilers) was amazing! The details that Smith give make her suffering and past come to life and you genially start to feel sympathy for her and understanding of how she became the woman she is today. Beyond that, the final revelation of who initially cursed Elena was really well done. I didn’t see it coming, which makes me happy because I hate when things are a bit too easy to predict. Smith gives us enough red herrings to keep us surprised when the truth comes out.
Overall, I’m so happy I had the chance to read this book and learn about Elena and the rest of the characters. It was a book I started reading and just could not put down until I was done! I highly recommend this to anybody who enjoys historical fantasies, is interested in the idea of every day magic, or those interested in a little bit of revisionist history around the making of wine. The Vine Witch came out early this week! Have you read it yet?
FINAL RATING: 4.5/5
Hi, I'm Alexandra! I love reading (largely YA fiction, but sometimes I'll read "adult" books), playing board games, Nutella, and binge-watching TV shows on Netflix with my husband.
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