This Poison Heart Readalong Day 5!

By: OwlCrate . Photo By: @readwitheva

Welcome back to day five of our book club read-along for OwlCrate's July book, This Poison Heart!

Just a reminder that this will be a SPOILER discussion for Chapters 17-21 of This Poison Heart, so make sure you read are finished this section before continuing.

Discussion questions are listed below, and anyone who participates in the comments will be entered to win a free OwlCrate box! 

The story so far...

Chapter 17:
On the way back from town Mo and Briseis have a heart to heart about how their feeling about living in this new place. Back at home with her moms occupied, Brisies again goes into the room behind the fireplace to inspect the crest on the desk, trying to figure out what the three lines in the drawing mean. Feeling defeated she sits down in the chair only to notice that there is a place on the desk that looks slightly more worn than the rest. Scrambling to the floor and peering underneath Briseis finds three lines etches into the wood along with a shallow divot. When she presses it a compartment containing a sketchbook falls down.

Inside the sketchbook Briseis reads about the Absyrtus Heart saying they must find the pieces that have been lost to time. Tucked between the pieces of there is also something resembling paper sealed between two pieces of plastic, it seems to be very old and covered in Greek. Reaching back into the compartment she feels a wad of fabric and when she pulls it out a key falls to the ground!

Marie calls and asks her to come over, and when Briseis agrees Marie send a driver for her. Fancy! The driver, Nyx, brings her to Marie’s house which is very big and very impressive. Inside, Nyx leaves her in the library to wait for Marie. Flipping through a book, a while later Nyx brings back a plate of cheeses when Briseis finally notices Marie appears to have been sitting there the entire time. Marie gives Briseis a tour of the house and inside a room filled with artifacts Marie and Alec are working on returning to their rightful owners, Marie tells Briseis that her family is keeping an “unfathomable secret.” Dun dun dun!

Chapter 18:
Although tempted to run, Briseis stay and learns from Marie that behind that locked door is a very rare, very poisonous plant. She only knows this because her best friend who passed away a long time ago, Astraea, was one of Briseis’ relatives. And Astraea once said in all seriousness that she would give her life to keep that plant safe. She also tells Briseis not to go through the door. That aside, Marie has no idea how Astraea died, and it seems it’s impossible to truly figure out how any of the Colchis family passed. Marie also reveals that Alec isn’t truly her grandfather, but asks Briseis to save more questions for later. As her curfew approaches, Nyx takes Briseis home and mentions how relieved Marie has been since she arrived as it’s been a very long time since Marie has a friend. When Briseis says it can’t have been so long if she’s only 17 Nyx laughs and says “Technically, that’s true.” Curious.

Chapter 19:
Early the next morning before breakfast Briseis runs down to the garden with the new found key. Unlocking the previously impassable door, she descends into a dark room containing a glass case with the Absyrtus Heart rooted in a small circle of dirt surrounded by black stones. Beside it was another empty circle of dirt. Briseis decides to open the case to try to perk the plant up a bit but as soon as she touches it her arm and wrist feel frozen like a block of ice. Definitely more painful than anything else she’s felt before! It takes over half an hour for the pain to start to subside, during which she harvests some oleander that had been taking over a garden plot. Briseis tells herself she is never going back down to the Heart.

Chapter 20:
Karter calls and asks her if she wants to see a movie that night, which Briseis agrees to. Back at the house an older man named Isaac has stopped by to get something from the apothecary. He’s Dr. Grant’s father. He buys some brimstone (aka Sulphur) from her and tells her that the apothecary has been a part of Rhinebeck’s magical community for generations. Magical. Asking her to humor him, he gets Briseis to put some wolfsbane root in a copper dish, and reveals that he knew Circe could touch the plant bare handed, so Briseis does as well. He pours a shimmering liquid from a vial onto the the wolfsbane and when Briseis asks what it is, instead of answering her he tells her he is an alchemist. He asks her to press her hand over the wolfsbane and when she does the muscles in her hand feel like they’re being ripped. When she removes her hand the wolfbane root has dissolved into the silver liquid.

Although he won’t reveal exactly what just happened, he says he’ll be back in a week to let her know if whatever she did worked. He leaves, but not before setting an envelope filled with several hundred dollars on the table.

Chapter 21:
Karter picks Briseis up at her house and they go to a small movie theatre in town to see a vampire movie. They are the only two people in the very small theatre until two men sit at the back and half way through the movie two more men come sit directly in front of them. Briseis can sense something isn’t right and when they get up to move one of the men grabs Karter. They flee the theatre and are able to escape in Karter’s truck. After flagging down a Public Safety Office and telling them what happened, Dr. Grant arrives. She agrees, reluctantly, not to tell Briseis’ parents what happened for now, and to look into what is going on quietly.


  1. Why do you think part of the magical community seems to be targeting Briseis and her family?
  2. Why do you think Briseis has such an averse reaction to the Absyrtus Heart?
  3. What do you think Nyx meant by Marie "technically" being 17?
  4. What do you think the paper (or paper like material) sealed in plastic in the notebook says? Do you think it will be significant?
  5. What do you think Briseis helped Isaac create?

Pick up your July "Potions & Poisons" box and your signed exclusive copy of This Poison Heart in the OwlCrate Shop!

Never miss a box! Subscribe to OwlCrate today.