At the beginning of the month, I had the pleasure of meeting and speaking on a panel with the lovely Luanne G Smith, author of Vine Witch. Crazy enough, Luanne is also a RR WIFE!!! Of course I unloaded on her about everything I only get to talk about with my RR sisters online. Then after only one page of Vine Witch, I knew I stumbled onto GOLD.
“A young witch emerges from a curse to find her world upended in this gripping fantasy of betrayal, vengeance, and self-discovery set in turn-of-the-century France.”
Luanne—I can call her that because we’re now friends—writes a narrative like poetry. Her visceral descriptions are perfect and hit you exactly where they are intended. I fell in love with her main character, Elena, from the start and rooted for her even as she makes a few mistakes.
We meet Elena as a toad in the first chapter. As her cognition and human body come back to her, there are far more questions to be told. She returns home to find she’s been trapped in the curse for seven years and her beloved home, a renowned winery, has been sold to a handsome stranger.
There is chemistry with Jean-Paul, but both he and Elena keep those feelings shrewdly tucked away, even from themselves. Jean-Paul not only wants to make wine, he wants to make good wine. Upon the return of the former vigneron of the winery’s finest days, luck seems to finally be in his corner.
What I particularly liked about this story, besides the beautiful way Luanne has with words, is Elena is not a damsel in distress. She most definitely takes matters into her own hands and relies very little on anyone else. She focuses on her goals and achieves them. But just when you think you’ve figured out the mystery of Elena’s curse, circumstances change.
I was gifted this lovely book by Luanne herself and read this novel in record time. I applaud Luanne G Smith on a riveting debut and cannot wait for the next chapter in this series. Thank you for trusting me with your book baby!
You can find and follow Luanne’s work at https://luannegsmith.com