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The Vine Witch Kindle Edition
A Washington Post and Amazon Charts bestseller.
“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.
“The vineyards of the fictitious Chanceaux Valley play home to magic, romance, and mystery in Smith’s contemporary debut fantasy…The specter of savage, early European witch hunts ups the stakes, mixing real history with folklore…this is an ambitious debut from a promising author.” —Publishers Weekly
“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. A great book to read while savoring a glass of wine…pure escapism.” —Forbes
From the Publisher
Elena Boureanu, 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
- ASIN : B07L2VDHXT
- Publisher : 47North (October 1, 2019)
- Publication date : October 1, 2019
- Language : English
- File size : 3697 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 269 pages
- Page numbers source ISBN : 1542008387
- Lending : Not Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #452 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
About the author
Reviewed in the United States on October 25, 2019
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Top reviews from the United States
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The whole idea of various different types of witches, including Vine Witches, was intriguing. Yes, there were other Supernaturals included, but the Vine (Wine) witches were the focus. The story starred a strong Heroine, who didn't need a man to rescue her. In fact, she ended up doing some rescuing. The murder mystery was entertaining, and the story had an interesting twist towards the end.
If you like Fantasy--this one is a quick, entertaining read.
M A G I C!!!! WE start in the swamp of all places. Slightly confusing at first until we realize it's the inner monologue of a toad of all things. Confusing, until we learn she's actually a woman that's been trapped in toad form for seven years by someone unknown. We're introduced to a magical landscape in more ways than one. The French countryside full of vineyards and dazzling wines brought to their peak perfection through the age old courtesy and love of vine witches. What happens when one such witch comes home from her seven year curse to find all she knew had changed? Can she find her footing when both her home, and love are no longer hers? When she's not certain who cursed both her and the vines she loves so very much. Her magical tale will weave its way into your heart and beg to hear more! This is one author I can't wait to see more from. Brava 💖💖💖💖
I found the idea of vine witches taking care of vineyards very refreshing. The rest of the world building with villagers accepting different kinds of witches and their magic (rather than prosecuting them) was also quite appealing. Plot has some magic, some suspense and some romance in it. There is very little of real drastic graphic cruelty in it but be prepared for some killings, bad witches and vicious demons. And , as a cherry on the top, there is also a surprising ending
I recommend this book to everyone who likes reading fairy tales. It is a perfect escapist book with likable and not over complicated characters and interesting magic world. Great debut.
The characters are easy to picture and are well described. Unfortunately, Elena is turning into a very selfish main character and that takes away from the story.
The ending feels rushed and could have been worked out better. Some revelations are more surprising than others.
One thing that really bugs me is if an author uses words from another language, but doesn't bother to have a native speaker spell-check. Hint, hint: in German, nouns are capitalized, no matter where in the sentence structure they are. Bierhexe, Quatsch….
The novel had a clever start with young witch Elena emerging from the swamp. She is the victim of a curse and has been turned into a toad. Luckily she is able to turn herself back into her witchy form though her magic is weakened. She suspects that the man who she refused to marry is behind the curse. She returns to her vineyard and finds that her grandmother is now the cook and caretaker. She sold to a man named Jean-Paul who prefers to grow grapes and make wine using science. He is failing dismally. Elena realizes there are hexes on the vineyard. This is where I stopped because I could see the middle and ending a mile away. I then skimmed the last three chapters to check my predictions. I must be a witch too! Elena battles the hexes, hunts down the person who cursed her (not who she suspected), and J-P and Elena work together and begin to fall in love.
I could perhaps have tolerated the predictable story but the writing was that of an amateur. Other than the content, it read more like a book for middle grade students. I realize this was the author’s debut work, but in my opinion this needed a lot of polishing and reworking. I want to be challenged when I read and this book did not work for me. It is very rare for me not to finish a book, but I happily quit this one and I won’t look back. To end with a wine analogy: The Vine Witch is like Arbor Mist and I prefer a nice bottle of Intrinsic Cabernet Sauvignon.
Top reviews from other countries
A lot of the story is told from the point of view of the main character, Elena, and I just didn't believe in her. It possibly didn't help that there is a lot of telling and quite a lot of repetition. Even where there is an idea for a scene that could have been dramatised for us, showing us the point the author wanted to make about Elena's mentor, it is simply told to us - in the past, as if the author suddenly remembered she wanted to Elena to draw on that evidence so had to add the scene in.
There is almost no sense of place nor time. The vineyard owner looks through his "Boddington's catalog (sic)" and neither I nor Wikipedia has any idea what that is or was - Boddington's is a beer in the UK and might well have been a catalogue in the USA but it doesn't sound like it would be used in France. There is a reference to the flight of Bleriot, which took place in 1909, and to French suffragette women whose organisation was founded in the same year, so I guess it is then but it didn't feel like that era. One of the key women's dress is described and, again, that gave some sense of the time period but it stood out to me as one incident in a desert.
The author chose to use very little French, which I think is a good idea. The French she did use was wrong: "mon petite" in chapter 9 and "etranger" (addressed to Elena) in chapter 12. These are little niggles in one sense but they distracted me and dislodged me from the terroir of the book, as it were. Ironic, given the subject matter.
As I said, there was a good concept in the story but the execution didn't do it justice.
This is a readable fairytale with a decent set of characters, and kept me engaged for an hour or two. I liked the no-nonsense Elena who doesn't allow herself to be carried away by a pretty face.
However, I feel it was a mistake setting it in France. No real French flavour comes through and most of the detail seemed borrowed from other novels. It became particularly jarring when the magical law enforcement turns up, which was straight out of Harry Potter. On the whole, the plot doesn't bear up to close scrutiny so it's best just to go with it as the likeable, lightweight bit of mindfluff that it is.