Book Reviews

Review: The Bitterwine Oath by Hannah West

The Bitterwine Oath is a story about putting the past to rest. It’s about the rumors and stories that gain traction and fear. But also about the kernels of truth nestled underneath. All the ways the truth and pieces of ourselves are hidden in plain sight. Keep reading this book review for my full thoughts.


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 copycat 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? There are shadows in the woods, bones on the outskirts of town, and questions Nat needs answered.

But everything becomes more urgent when people start getting marked as new victims–including Levi Langford, the boy whose kiss haunted Nat for a year. With Levi in danger, doing nothing would be harder than fighting back.

Nat knows that no one is safe. Can she and the sisterhood stop the true evil from claiming their town?


(Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)

I’m a pretty big fan of anything witchy, but then you add in cults, mysterious murders, and blood soaked churches and I’m in. And considering how many elements I was interested in, I ended up enjoying so much more. The Bitterwine Oath is a story about the line between stories and the truth. About how much we tell our loved ones and how we can best protect them.

The Bitterwine Oath continues to build on itself as the magic and the depths of the history is revealed. Talk about some fantastic world building for a contemporary setting as well! At the beginning, there was so much intigue and mystery about what really happened in the past. And then it switches into a focus on what we can do now. My favorite element had to be the ways The Bitterwine Oath looks at isolation and love.

Do we have to hold those we love away from us to protect them? Does that honor their commitment, their choice, their agency? This contrast between individual and community, between agency and protection, fascinated me. Once the revelations begin, the action unfolds like an avalanche. For the first half, I wasn’t sure how I felt because the book seemed so far from what I expected, but then I feel like the last half bewitched me. For those who are searching for witchy vibes, generational stories, and secrets, then pick up The Bitterwine Oath. You can find The Bitterwine Oath on Goodreads, Amazon, Indiebound, & The Book Depository.


What is your favorite witch YA?

Share this post

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.