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The Honey Witch Readalong: Day 1!

Shannon

Beautiful photo by @cosycoffeereader!

Hi fairy friends!

Happy Monday, I hope you all have a good day! Welcome to day 1 of the May Adult Book readalong of The Honey Witch by Sydney J. Shields. I’m so excited to be reading this with you all!

Before we start, how are you all doing? I hope you all had a wonderful weekend and are ready to dive into this new fantasy world with me!

Since today is day 1, we’ll be reading from the beginning to the end of chapter 6.

When you’ve finished today’s section, catch up with me in the comments down below so we can discuss the beginning of the book. Happy reading!


Please be warned, the following section will include spoilers for The Honey Witch by Sydney J. Shields from the beginning to the end of Chapter 6. Please only read on if you have finished reading this section!

If there’s one thing I love in a book, it’s a solid opening line, and this one has me SO intrigued. In fact, this whole prologue is full of mystery and intrigue. I can’t wait to learn more!

As we head into the first chapter, the perspective has switched. We’re now joining Althea’s granddaughter, Marigold. A few things to know about her:

  • She hates balls
  • Doesn’t want a new dress if it means being poked and prodded at the modiste
  • She considers pants a luxury

Ok fairies, I think I’m gonna like her!

The vibes are giving regency so far and I’m here for it, they’re attending a ball regardless of how Marigold views them and her mother gives her a not so subtle reminder that she’s not getting any younger, and is still unmarried.

Marigold longs to be at her grandmother’s cottage in Innisfree. I feel her pain. I think I’d rather be anywhere else too, to be honest!

Whilst her mother seems quite… rigid… her father is a willing participant in helping her plot her escape. He seems to know she’ll do it anyway so just tells her to be back by the time the sun rises!

Wild women are their own kind of magic.” Not only do I absolutely adore this line, but something’s telling me this is a perfect example of what we can expect from our main character!

She’s introduced to Mr Notley who asks her to dance. Clever and also quite deviant, Marigold tells him to take up every space on her dance card. That’s one way to avoid too much socialising I suppose?

Before they dance… CAKE! She’s my kind of gal! This honey cake sounds absolutely divine.

Notley didn’t seem too bad at first. I know he’s a product of the times but, what’s it to him if she’s not married yet? And what a way to offer himself. And then demanding to know why she’s leaving, if there’s another man, that he will not let her go? Oh Mr Notley, I don’t think Marigold is the pliable wife you were looking for! She’s off to run barefoot through the grass in the moonlight. Seems like it’s a sufficient explanation!

Marigold knows she and her grandmother are similar, extensions of nature. She has visions her siblings don’t understand… including this adorable blue glowing butterfly – Lunasia.

When she returns home, her mother isn’t alone. Raina (her mum) and Althea (her grandmother) are bickering. Althea has returned from Innisfree for the first time in a long time, but not without cost. She guards Innisfree. They both argue of choices and Raina tells Althea that Marigold is not the same as her.

Marigold confirms she, in fact, does see things, she even just saw what Althea considers to be an omen. Eek!

The last time they saw each other, Althea almost got Marigold killed. Surely it was an accident though?

She sits her down and opens up. They’re witches. Whilst her mother gave up her magic, Althea didn’t, and now she’s giving Marigold the choice. Love and power are opposing forces and they’re cursed to never have true love. Deeeep!

Althea wants her help. She’s dying and someone has to protect Innisfree from the Ash witches… and Marigold says she’s ready for the job!

Her mother is going to HATE this, but her father is on board. He knows Marigold, and knows she needs this. They go forth and proceed with the ritual… Marigold is officially a witch! She feels whole. 🥺

As we kinda guessed, her mum isn’t happy. She feels betrayed and she’s pretty convinced that she’s managed to protect Marigold and her other children just fine without Althea AND without magic. It’s not entirely true though, protection runes are hidden on the backs of paintings throughout their home – Althea’s work.

The travel to Innisfree is a long one! I do like this Benny gentleman though, he seems nice. I hope we see more of him! He’s quite fond of Althea too… 👀

Innisfree seems amazing! Do we think Marigold will regret her choice to come? I’m sure she’ll miss the rest of her family but this stunning isle does seem like the perfect place for her!

She’s reunited with August, who she knew when she was small. She also meets his partner Edmund and his friend Lottie. Lottie seems… grumpy. First impressions: hates everyone. My kinda gal! 😂

Marigold gets right to it, learning from Althea! We meet Caoimhe, who’s in a bad way. She’s pregnant and the current state of her pregnancy is putting her life at risk. Althea gets to work and Mari takes the task of comforting and distracting Ronan.

Before we know it, we have knew that Althea somehow managed to perform a miracle! Both Caoimhe and baby are doing well. This job is SO much pressure though! What if Althea couldn’t do it???

We leave Mari as she unpacks her belongings and heads off to sleep, she needs it!


What a start! I love the vibes of this book so far. 😍

Do you think Marigold made the right choice?
Was her mother right to hide it all from her?
Opinions on Lottie and August are very much needed, please!

I can’t wait to hear what you all think! See you tomorrow for another day of cosy, witchy reading!

Love,
Shannon

Conversation

37 Comments

Comment

  • Kyanna Jackson

    I think Marigold is going to be a great main character! I am already so invested in her and cannot wait to see what this book brings! I definitely think she made the right choice, but I worry that she will regret it even though she says she has no interest in love. I can see how the mother thought she was protecting Mari, but i feel she just kept Mari from her destiny and tried to conform Mari to this tiny little box full of a life that Mari has no interest in. As for August, I always love when an old friend from childhood comes back into a character’s life. I can’t wait to see the interactions between Mari and Lottie. I know it is going to be interesting.

    • Shannon

      I think she’ll make a great main character too! 💜

  • Licia Carlesi

    I didn’t realise this book was set in Regency time, with balls and suitors – I’m even more keen now! I’m intrigued by the Irish terms used, like Innisfree and the character called Caoimhe. I wonder if it’s supposed to be set in an alternative regency Ireland?
    I like Marigold, I can definitely empathise with her feelings of not fitting in, feeling different from others, finding the idea of marriage and children stifling (as the only real options for women at the time…) I think she probably knows deep down that her destiny is different. How magical to discover that she’s a witch!
    I also like the rest of the characters introduced so far. It seems promising in terms of plot/set-up and the magic system sounds interesting. I’m curious to find out more about honey vs ash magic.
    I understand where her mother is coming from, and I’m excited to spend more time with August!

    • Shannon

      Oooh I knew Caoimhe was Irish, but I didn’t realise Innisfree is an Irish word too – I love that! 🖤

      • Licia Carlesi

        Yes, there’s a real Innisfree island somewhere off the coast of Ireland, and I’m pretty sure there’s a beauty of skincare brand called Innisfree. (I’m not from Ireland but I live here.)

        • Shannon

          Ahhh, I love that it’s named after a real island! 💜

  • karen.holmes.w

    I loved all the atmosphere, both at the ball and the way to Innisfree.
    Marigold is completely relatable as not wanting to be in the market, but I feer she will feel a bit isolated without her sibblings, whom she seemed attached to. But she will have nature and the spirits.
    August seems a wonderful charming character and Lottie and her moods made me smile. Want to see her turn around to Marigold!

    • Shannon

      I agree that the dynamic shift in being without her siblings might be tough for her! 💜

  • Rachelle H.

    Ahhhh I ADORED the beginning of this book A LOT!!! Marigold is a really likable main character and I love the premise and set up! She definitely made the right choice following the magic and I’m really curious where this is going.

    I feel like Lottie and Mari are going to have a grumpy/sunshine vibe and I’m SUPER here for that.

    August seems really cool as well, I hope they all get to be good friends. I’m really curious about the Ash Witches as well, and I’m wondering if there will be a replacement Ash Witch as well (like a new generation that Mari will have to deal with)

    Excited for more!

  • Alex Shaffer

    Do you think Marigold made the right choice?
    I like Marigold! I think she made a decision that was right for her, but she’s still young. So, I’m sure she is going to regret the decision at some point. But, I’m hoping that she learns what is best for her. Though, I’m not sure if I could have made the same decision.

    Was her mother right to hide it all from her?
    I do not think her mother is right to hide everything from her. She definitely needs to be able to make her own informed decisions. However, this is common in the era that she lives. During this time, the women were only good for getting married and having kids. I’m glad to know that Mari has something else coming for her.

    Opinions on Lottie and August are very much needed, please!
    I’m sure we will get to know Lottie, Edmund, and August more. I hope to find out why August is so much happier than his companions.

  • Marilag Angway

    I’m already biased with Marigold because she shares the first letters of my name 🤣. And I think at this point in the story, there’s definitely more for her in Innisfree than anywhere else, so leaving Bardshire was certainly the right way to go. No opinions on August or Lottie yet, since they only just showed up, though I strike Lottie as the grumpy type and that is going to be interesting.

    • Shannon

      Definitely agree that there’s more for her in Innisfree! She definitely wasn’t happy in Bardshire either. 💜

  • Rachel Lachance Beaudoin

    “But what happens when the girl keeps living, when she ages proudly and defiantly, without abandoning imagination, or stories, or that secret wish to find magic wherever it hides?”.
    I think that is probably my favorite quote in a long time.
    I think that is probably my favorite quote in a long time.
    Many people can relate to Marigold, not fitting in by being different and not complying with the expectations of others/society. I love that she chose her own fate because she knew that she was meant for something else other than being a wife and a mother. I would have liked a bit more time with Raina, to feel and understand her concerns better. I look forward to seeing more of grumpy Lottie and how their relationship will turn out.

  • Stephanie Rittenhouse

    So far I already adore Marigold and Althea. I’m intrigued by the magic system and am looking forward to learning more. I like the side characters and think August and and Edmund will play interesting roles later.
    I also am enjoying the writing style.

  • jan

    Do you think Marigold made the right choice?

    Yes it was obvious her mom had no desire to embrace the honey witch part of her ancestry and has shielded marigold from every finding out. It like a parent saying no to a college or lifes dream for us i would hope we would all choose what makes us happiest.
    Was her mother right to hide it all from her?
    I think in some ways it can be scary to share something that could potentially be dangerous for your child. But if there was no way to avoid her being a honey witch since she has the eyes she was going to need to be trained in her magic someday. So i think maybe for a time but she should of told her when she was old enough to process the information and what the results of choosing to follow her grandmother meant.

    Opinions on Lottie and August are very much needed, please! Boy next door possible romeo of course this needs to happen i mean it honey witch what other romance would work for this theme. You need the boy you trusted as a friend to be your possible love match.

  • Morgan Blake

    I loved that quote about wild women! Marigold seems so lovely, and the island seems perfect for her! Can’t wait to see more of it. Also I cant’t help but notice that she’s quite sunshine-y and Lottie is grumpy *eyes*

  • Tiffany Salangsang

    Definite witchy cosy vibes, as revealed by the cover. I didn’t realize this was set in the Regency era, too.
    Marigold made the right choice for sure – she’s been waiting for something like thisto be revealed to her.
    Was her mother right to hide it all from her? definitely not. the truth is always better.

  • ASHLEY KALATUSHA

    Do you think Marigold made the right choice?
    I think she did. I am curious if we will see more of Mr. Notley. He was mentioned enough and he clicked with Marigold so to have him just disappear would feel odd.
    Was her mother right to hide it all from her?
    Yes and no. I understand wanting to protect your children. However, Marigold is well into adulthood. She has struggled to fit into a life she doesn’t fit and its an injustice that her mom didn’t tell her the truth.
    Opinions on Lottie and August are very much needed, please!
    They ate too new to be definitive. But I think Lottie will be HILARIOUS. I am curious to learn more aboutAugust.

  • Nymphie

    I just finished Bridgerton season 3, so I was very much in the mood to read about a regency era gal running away to be a witch! I have loved this first section and I’m very excited to read more.

    1) I do think Marigold made the right choice! She was already unhappy in her current life and would never have been able to find the happiness she craved and deserved if she stayed behind. She already seems so at home and much happier in Innisfree!

    2) While I don’t think Raina was right to hide everything from her daughter, I can understand why she did it. She worried that she would lose her daughter. If she became a witch, she would not be able to visit home very often. And I think Raina, as someone who knows what true love feels like, wanted her daughter to have that same experience. But Marigold deserved to have the full story to make the choice herself.

    3) Lottie and August seem great! August is very bubbly and friendly and I hope that his friendship with Marigold will give him an outlet for all that positivity that Lottie and Edmund don’t seem to enjoy. I suspect Lottie is a serious softy on the inside! I am very much an introvert and a difficult person to befriend, so I already see myself in her. I hope she’ll be less standoffish and cold to Marigold as they get to know each other!

    • Shannon

      Yessss, this is the perfect book to fill that Bridgerton hole! 💜

  • Ally Christine

    Do you think Marigold made the right choice? Absolutely!!!! I can’t wait to see where her journey takes her. She seemed quite miserable with the expectations for her life at home. Im so curious to learn more about her magic.
    Was her mother right to hide it all from her? I feel like her mom had good intentions but that doesn’t mean it was a good choice. I think at a certain point her mom should have given her the information and the opportunity to choose.
    I cannot wait to see more of Grumpy Lottie and it seems like these characters are not fans of Augusts partner 🤔. Such a solid start to a book!!

  • kaythesuperstar

    I’m so excited to get into this book!

    Do you think Marigold made the right choice?
    I think she did because being able to see past the veil seems really cool. I hope there’s some way for her to break the curse so she can find love too because I’m a romantic at heart.

    Was her mother right to hide it all from her?
    No! I think she should have been honest with her and let her make the decision if she wanted to be a witch or not. Especially I think explaining why she thinks it was dangerous instead of just keeping her in the dark.

    Opinions on Lottie and August are very much needed, please!
    I’m interested to see what happens with them! It was interesting August introducing Edmund as his partner. I wonder if that’s romantic partner or like business partner? The regency era makes me think being LGBT wouldn’t be a thing but I’m hoping this fantasy society is better and is okay with it if it does turn out to be that kind of partner. <3

    • Shannon

      The author mentioned she wanted to write a world where even in this era, there’s no stigma around LGBTQ+ relationships, which I love! 🥺

  • Alysha Sherratt

    I definitely think she made the right choice as she was not her true self at home. Whilst not agreeing with it i can understand why her mother thought she was protecting her and the whole curse really brings into focus the push for marriage and hope of love for her daughter. I will admit I have a bad feeling for August as he was there that day and still feel like Althea is hiding something

  • fatima

    Omg what a start! I love the introduction to this world and the Regency vibes 🤩

    I feel sympathy for Marigold’s mother, but at the same time I do believe Marigold made the right decision. I just hope she doesn’t regret it! I also really liked how supportive Marigold’s father is through all this.

    I already adore Lottie and how grumpy she is. Can’t wait for her and Marigold to interact more 👀

  • Lisa Spanu (@lisashelves)

    1. Do you think Marigold made the right choice?
    I think she made the best choice for herself. I think she never would’ve been happy being someones wife.

    2. Was her mother right to hide it all from her?
    No, but I can understand why the mother hid it all.

    3. Opinions on Lottie and August are very much needed, please!
    As of now they seem very minor and forgettable since their appearance was super brief.
    I do think August and Marigold will rekindle their friendship and since this is a sapphic story, Lottie will probably play a bigger role later on

    • Shannon

      Agreed! I think it was the choice she needed to make! 🖤

  • dnjreads

    Do you think Marigold made the right choice?
    I do think she made the right choice, it’s been calling to her all her life.

    Was her mother right to hide it all from her?
    I think she was right to protect her but I don’t think she was right to hide it from her. Miracle could have had a very different childhood if her mother went about it a different way.

    Opinions on Lottie and August are very much needed, please!
    I’m interested to see more of Lottie I think she’ll be an interesting character.
    I love August already.

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