I am beyond excited to be participating in TBR and Beyond’s blog tour for The Bitterwine Oath! For my stop on the blog tour, I will be sharing my review of the young adult book as well as some of my favorite quotes. A list of my favorite quotes can be found below my review. If you have had a chance to read The Bitterwine Oath, be sure to share your thoughts in the comments! I would love to discuss the book with you!
Title: The Bitterwine Oath
Author: Hannah West
Publication Date: December 1, 2020
Publisher: Holiday House
Page Count: 320
Goodreads Rating: 3.68
Every fifty years, a cult claims twelve men to murder in a small Texas town. Can one girl end the cycle of violence – and save the boy who broke her heart?
San Solano, Texas is a quaint town known for its charm, hospitality, and history of murder. Twice now, twelve men have been brutally killed, and no one knows who did it. A shadowy witch? A copy-cat killer? Or a man-hating murderess? Eighteen-year-old Natalie Colter is sure that the rumors about her great-great-grandmother’s cult of wronged women are just gossip, but that doesn’t stop the true crime writers and dark tourism bloggers from capitalizing on the town’s reputation. It’s an urban legend that’s hard to ignore, and it gets harder when Nat learns that the sisterhood is real, and magical. And they want her to join.
The more Nat learns of the Wardens’ supernatural history, the more she wonders about the real culprits behind the town’s ritualistic murders. Are the Wardens protecting San Solano from even darker forces? As the anniversary of the murders draws near, the town grows restless. Residents start getting “claimed” as this year’s planned victims, including Levi Langford, the boy whose kiss haunted Nat for a year.
Nat knows that no one is safe. Can she and the sisterhood stop the true evil from claiming their town?
Hannah West is the author of young adult books including The Nissera Chronicles series and The Bitterwine Oath. She’s been writing fantasy since kindergarten, when she penned her first tale about a princess who ran away and lived at the top of a flagpole with two loaves of bread. But it wasn’t until she studied abroad in Orléans, France during college that the premise for her first novel materialized. The fairy tale castles, the snowy winter days, and a Disney princess pencil that arrived in a care package from her parents provided the inspiration that allowed her to wrangle all her untold and unfinished stories into a novel.
Hannah currently lives in the Dallas area with her husband and their two rambunctious rescue dogs.
I’ve never lived in a small town, so I’m fascinated by books that are set within that community. In such an intimate setting, I’m always skeptical that secrets are even possible. Yet, each time that I read a book about a small town, I’m in awe at how an author decides to creatively reveal the hidden secrets.
The Bitterwine Oath is no different. West cleverly crafts the story in such a way that San Solano’s secrets are gradually revealed to Natalie. Readers learn the town’s secrets along with Natalie, which allows for a smooth read that is not overburdened by a mid-novel information dump. As Natalie processes this new information about a town that she has lived in for 18 years, readers are also privileged to her character growth. Through her journey in The Bitterwine Oath, Natalie learns exactly what is she capable of achieving.
The Bitterwine Oath features a small town, mystery, and magic. I would recommend the book to YA contemporary (in particular, fans of magical realism) and fantasy readers who are looking for a quick, light read for the upcoming holiday season. The novel may be a standalone, but it is concluded in such a way that there is potential for a sequel.
Many thanks to Holiday House for the ARC! All opinions are my own.
I was blind to half the world, and she was my guide. It was as though she could see in the dark and I could not. Her suffering made her sage; the darkness educated her in its terrifying mysteries. She spoke its language, and she was drawn to others who spoke it.
“Life doesn’t grind to a halt when you’re fighting to protect your town. It’s vital to keep up appearances.”
“We’re the light that fights the dark, but a candle burning on its own will get snuffed out. I don’t want you to get snuffed out. Don’t try to go rogue.”
“Doing nothing is so much harder than fighting back.”
“It’s okay to be in shock. Just sleep on your decision another night. Strange things happen under a dark moon.”
“Then protect me from grief,” she said. “Protect me from knowing I could have stopped you from dying and didn’t.”
Be sure to check out the rest of the TBR and Beyond blog tour for The Bitterwine Oath! You can either click here or on the blog tour banner found above to see the other blogs that are participating in the blog tour.
What are your thoughts on The Bitterwine Oath? Do you have a favorite quote? If you haven’t had a chance to read the book yet, will you be adding it to your TBR? Let us know in the comments!