Hunting the Wren - Susanna M. Newstead

Goodreads Book Blurb:

Marlborough Town, nestled in the Wiltshire Downs, is home to the finest astrologer west of London. Geoffrey Celest.

Bennet, Master Celest’s apprentice, modelling himself on his master, has resigned himself to living an eccentric, celibate and aesthetic life. But when his master dies suddenly, the young man is thrown utterly on his own resources. Almost by accident, he takes on an untried and rather mischievous young woman, Christa Wren, as his servant. Reluctantly drawn into a world of murder, blackmail and feuding, the two of them are pulled closer; more intimate than master and servant should ever be.

In a tale packed with folklore and Medieval tradition, Bennet and Christa, battle with the evil forces in the town which threaten to tear them apart guided only by the deceased astrologer’s advice and warnings laid down secretly in a little black book.

Will the pair be protected by the benign influence of the planets or will those who seek to destroy them prevail?

Can Bennet and Christa ever truly be more than master and servant or will true love find a way to triumph?

★★★★★ It’s all in the stars. ★★★★★

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My Review:

***Thanks to NetGalley and BooksGoSocial for an eARC of this book. The following review is my honest reflection on the text provided.
enjoyable/easy to read:
3/5
2.5 stars, rounded up.

I appreciated this unique take on medieval crime fiction. I don’t really know anything about astrology, so I can’t speak to the ‘validity’ of the details used in Hunting the Wren to move the story along. However, the idea of using astrology to predict the actions of criminals was certainly interesting, even if it was highly unbelievable. I’m sure many people get something out of practising astrology – it wouldn’t be so prevalent in our common lexicon if they didn’t – but having minute details of a person’s daily life be predictable by a good astrologer seems an incredibly large plothole to overcome.

I could probably overcome these logical hurdles if the writing had been better. Unfortunately, the characters, setting, and action all felt superficial; the story moved along without enough details or emotions to make me care what would happen next.

Overall, this was an average read made more interesting with the addition of astrology as a crime solving technique. Perhaps with less reliance on astrology and more complex characters this could have been a more captivating read.

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