The Vine Witch, by Luanne G. Smith
If I’d not already decided to bring back #GiftastLoves, then I would have to tell you about The Vine Witch. It’s an Amazon First Read for this month, so maybe go download it immediately, then come back here and finish reading my review.
Having escaped from a curse which left her trapped in the body of a toad for 7 long years, Elena Boureanu returns to Château Renard to find that much has changed in her absence. The now failing vineyard has been bought by Vigneron Jean-Paul Martel, a mortal with a distaste for witchcraft and superstition. Elena must fight Jean-Paul’s prejudice, the curious web of hexes which has been cast over the vineyard in her absence, and her unquenchable thirst for revenge, to restore Château Renard to it’s full glory.
So let’s start at the beginning.
This book has the weirdest opening I’ve ever read. It’s just – I love it. I think it’s gross, but I love it. It’s a strange, jarring thing, which I’m not going to spoil for you by sharing. But it’s brave, and interesting, and immediately gripping.
The storytelling is atmospheric and fast-paced, and I absolutely raced through the book because I couldn’t put it down. Elena is a witch, yes, but human and relatable in her overwhelming desire for revenge. I was with her at every stage – first willing her to do the unthinkable, then mellowed by the handsome, kind Jean-Paul and his slow steps towards belief.
I find witchcraft so interesting. It’s a feminine realm, one crushed and persecuted over centuries. We forget, I think, how much has been lost due to fear and ignorance. Yet we’re currently in a resurgence – I went into a remainder book shop the other day and saw 6+ books on spells, and half of them were for kitchen witches, (the side of witchcraft I imagine is most closely related to vine witchcraft).
The thing about Giftast Loves is that I only put stuff up here that I like.
This way I get to share the things I love, and we all get a little bit more positivity in our lives. I’ve always liked the idea of karma, and so the witchy idea that whatever you put out, you get threefold in return, really chimed with me. It’s encouraged me, since I put the book down, to try and be kinder. Not just because I think I’ll get nastiness back threefold, but because it’s just nicer being kind.
So rather than a book review per se, I’m more sharing how this book made me feel. It boiled my blood with thoughts of revenge, it cooled and calmed and healed me, and it made me sad. But most of all, it made me want to be kinder, not only to other people but also to myself.
The Vine Witch is written by Luanne G. Smith and published by 47North.
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