The Vine Witch

Luanne G. Smith. 47north, $14.95 trade paper (268p) ISBN 978-1-5420-0838-9
The vineyards of the fictitious Chanceaux Valley play home to magic, romance, and mystery in Smith’s contemporary debut fantasy. Before the start of the novel, vine witch Elena Boureanu is transformed into a toad by a curse. When she returns to her body, she discovers that her Grand-Mère has sold Chateau Renard, Elena’s renowned vineyard home, to handsome former lawyer Jean-Paul Martel. The Chateau’s vines, grieving Elena’s absence, have begun to produce mediocre wine, and scientifically minded Jean-Paul refuses Elena’s offer to use her magic to cure them. But as Elena works to restore her vineyard to health and seeks revenge against her ex-fiancé, Bastien, who she believes is responsible for her curse, she and Jean-Paul grow closer, and he comes to accept that her magic is real. When Bastien turns up dead, a biased, antiwitch policeman arrests Elena for his murder, and Jean-Paul takes the case as her defense attorney. The specter of savage, early European witch hunts ups the stakes, mixing real history with folklore. Though the conflict of science vs. superstition never quite comes together with the theme of female empowerment, this is an ambitious debut from a promising author. (Oct.)
Reviewed on : 09/12/2019
Release date: 10/01/2019
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Horror
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