Welcome back to another sporadic post from me, Stacialovestoread. Today I bring you good tidings, cold weather….oh yeah! A review of a recently published book!
Synopsis: 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 justgossip, 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?
First off, let’s start with a content warning. This book, though definitely a YA, features some themes some may be uncomfortable with. There are descriptions of blood, gore, and animal cruelty. If any of those things offend or upset you, perhaps skip this review and this read. Take care of yourself first, beloved.
Since this will be my first spoiler-free review, so forgive me if this one is a little dry: I’m used to letting y’all in on all the good, bad, and ugly of a book but I can’t with this one, per request of the publisher and tour company. I can say, however, that this book was a r i d e from start to finish. From the cult (which turns out to be more of a coven), to the town’s strange history, and the lengths one is willing to go through to protect the ones they love.
Bitterwine Oath stars Nat, a spunky high school senior is just trying to live out the last summer with her friends before they all separate and go to various colleges the following year. Levi, a boy that Nat kissed once (and would very much like to kiss again) has come back to town after finishing his first year at college. There are secrets a plenty, poems, a secret cult, and forest shenanigans that stand between them being together. While there are definitely some parts that call for a suspension of disbelief, the plot moves along nicely and I feel like the ending not only closed everything up well, but also left space for a sequel/companion novel.
I received an Advance Copy of this book from the publisher, Holiday House, in exchange for my participation on this tour, and an honest review. This has in no way influenced my opinion or review.
Hannah West is a YA author. The Bitterwine Oath comes after the author’s previous works: The Nissera Novels and was released on December 1st from Holliday House Publishing. You can find her on the web at Hannahwestauthor.com or Instagram at hannahwestya.