Book Reviews

Review: The Honey Witch by Sydney J. Shields

The Honey Witch is a book I wanted to love more than I did. I loved the themes and the bare bones of the story. But I think it would have worked better as a romance than a fantasy in terms of the story beats we were looking for. Keep reading my book review of The Honey Witch for my full thoughts.


Twenty-one-year-old Marigold Claude has always preferred the company of the spirits of the meadow to any of the suitors who’ve tried to woo her. So when her grandmother whisks her away to the family cottage on the tiny Isle of Innisfree with an offer to train her as the next Honey Witch, she accepts immediately. But her newfound magic and independence come with a No one can fall in love with the Honey Witch.

When Lottie Burke, a notoriously grumpy skeptic who doesn’t believe in magic, shows up on her doorstep, Marigold can’t resist the challenge to prove to her that magic is real. But soon, Marigold begins to care for Lottie in ways she never expected. And when darker magic awakens and threatens to destroy her home, she must fight for much more than her new home—at the risk of losing her magic and her heart.


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

The Honey Witch is about not allowing herself to be tamed. To know exactly who Marigold is and what she wants. This historical fantasy builds on the foundations of the expectations and confines of what society see of us, wants from us. It’s a book that explores power versus love versus being who we are. In many ways, The Honey Witch is a story about friendship and community, about finding people in our lives. But the middle part loses the action, the impetus, of the plot and when it gets picked up again, it just feels a bit too sudden.

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World building wise, I also had a difficult time trying to figure out the rules and limits of the magic. I don’t mind a nebulous world system, but if we don’t know what cannot be done, then when something happens which violates this world order we don’t feel that emotional gut punch. So not knowing the limits or even how it works, means that we lose out on these powerful reveals.

There’s so much promise in The Honey Witch and I think if it was longer, or if there was more space for the last 1/3 then it wouldn’t feel so rushed? But for the vibes, the romance, and the found friendship, it’s certainly charming! Find The Honey Witch on Goodreads, Storygraph, Amazon (US)(UK),, Blackwells, & Libro. fm.


What’s a book you wish had a bit more space?

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