Withershynnes: In The Dark
A Medieval Historical Fantasy
by Susanna M. Newstead
This title was previously available on NetGalley and is now archived.
Pub Date 30 Sep 2021 | Archive Date 2 Oct 2021
From the acclaimed author of the Savernake Novels Medieval Murder Mysteries
Wiltshire - in the years 1200 - 1212
★ Upon the thirteenth hour of the thirteenth day, upon her thirteenth birthday Mabel Wetherspring discovers that she is a shapeshifter ★
Just three turns to withershynnes and Mabel can be a bat, a bird, a butterfly, a horse, any creature she likes; and it is joyous!
But one day when she accidentally turns into a fly, Mabel stumbles on the corpse of a murdered man in the forest.
Can Mabel work out who has killed him? Should she use this supranatural power to investigate his death? She quickly realises she’s uniquely placed to spy on her neighbours; to dig for deception, consider clues, track down the truth and find the felon.
After an attempt on her life, she meets the charming Sir Gabriel Warrener who is charged by their overlord with protecting Mabel, as a woman.
Mabel wonders who is protecting whom?
Beginning her career in detecting, Mabel naively propels herself into a dangerous world where any wrong move might be her last!
Can she find the murderer before they find her?
♥ Follow this, Mabel’s first adventure as she scurries, leaps, flies or swims in search of the truth.♥
"Wythershynnes, takes Susanna Newstead's characteristic impeccably researched 13th century world with fiendish plots and combines them with a touch of shapeshifting magic realism and comedy. As a result she has produced a fabulous new crime-busting female protagonist - Mabel - who can boldly go where female medieval detectives ought not to rightly go!"
Average rating from 11 members
What a weird and wonderful novel Withershynnes is. Totally different from the normal shapeshifter we usually read about. This is a real tongue-in-cheek fantasy fiction story that is also a mystery crime thriller. The narrator of the story is Mabel Wetherspring. As we join the tale, she is just about to discover that she has an unusual talent, that of a Shapeshifter. While using this ability, she stumbles on a dead body. Mabel decides to use this unique talent, and she puts it to good use in trying to track down the murderer. But things do not go according to plan. And there is murder mystery and mayhem that follows in her wake. The only thing she did not turn into was a nosy cow, which would have been quite apt. Some of the escapades Mabel gets up to are humorous and cringe-worthy but nearly always fun. There are dark moments that offset the lighter ones, but they are few and far between. As Mabel seeks out the villain of the peace, there are a few twists and turns but do not expect an Agatha Christie-style whodunnit here. For such a short novel, the action is relentless, and Mabel is a terrific character. She and Sir Gabriel Warrener make a great team. (Fingers crossed there may be more.) Both characters had depth and room for development. Plus, the supporting cast of characters was excellent and were well written into the narrative. There is a handy map at the beginning of the book. This is especially useful as Mabel goes flying (literally) here, there and everywhere in pursuit of and being pursued by the criminal and ignorant prey. Withershynnes In The Dark could be read by anybody from young-teen to adult but is a fun read no matter who the intended demographic is. Offering a fresh perspective on the detective idea is brilliant. Why not a Female Medieval Shapeshifter when everything else has been done to death (including the character of Death). So, while not exactly intellectually stimulating, I found Withershynnes In The Dark a real nice change from the norm. Thoroughly enjoyable, easy to read, hard to put down. I recommend it as a good fantasy fiction read. Thank you, NetGalley and BooksGoSocial, for the ADC of the book.
I enjoyed this a lot more than I thought I would, it was a great story that was rich with vivid descriptions magical realism and great characters
Wonderful story combines fantasy and whodunit I loved this book. It’s a simple story with no flowery language, but it is very imaginative and fun. Character development is excellent as is the setting. There is good banter between characters. As a fantasy it is great, with a good magic system that doesn’t overwhelm the story. As a whodunit it is still great, with the suspense building through the book. Both aspects of the book coalesce in a great story. There is a helpful glossary at the end of the book, which I should have read before starting the main part of the book. The author's note is worth reading as it gives additional insight into the author’s thoughts. And the map at the beginning of the book is helpful. I found the book impossible to put down. I look forward to reading more books in this series. Thank you to Negalley and BooksGoSocial for the advance reader copy.
This was a really fun and interesting historical fantasy. I haven’t read many that really focus on the historical aspect of a fantasy book before at all really and this was amazing I really did enjoy this. It’s perfect for those who enjoy these type of books! 5 out of 5stars!
This whimsical whodunit following a shape-shifting heroine and a knight protector is a lovely light read. It felt like a pleasant daydream. I loved the way the main character described their shapeshifting abilities and the way the magic system was introduced from their point of view instead of a narrator or third party. I only had two complaints that tarnished my enjoyment of the story somewhat. The first being the main character's time and relation to other characters confuses me a little. She's a housekeeper at the Lord's manor but seems to have ample free time and lives in the village instead of within the manor which is usually what I would expect from a single woman of this time period. She is also 24 and again still unmarried which I understand is to give her the freedom she needs for storytelling purposes but it doesn't feel realistic given the time period. The other members of the village also just seem to speak freely to her and give her information without questioning why she is asking what would generally be considered prying or invasive questions. The second issue is the romance. I love the idea of the two together but it felt like an afterthought in the story. I don't mind sudden drops into romance as long as it makes sense but there was not enough to pull these two together and the way it was added in felt like a shock. Even once I got past the initial moment of surprise the relationship dynamics still felt choppy and spliced like it wasn't supposed to be a romance yet but then it was forced to become a romance instead of a friendship to romance. Overall, it was a good read and a sweet story but these issues would prevent me from re-reading or moving on to a sequel if it were to be put out.
A well written and gripping historical fantasy. I loved it and appreciated the world building and the character development. The author is a talented storyteller and I hope to read other books Highly recommended. Many thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for this ARC, all opinions are mine
“It was at the thirteenth hour of the thirteenth day upon her thirteenth birthday that Mabel Wetherspring realized that she was very different from her friends and what was left of her family.” This is the opening quote from Withershynnes: In the Dark and I felt immediately curious to know more about the main character. This book is a medieval fantasy mystery where we get to follow Mabel Wetherspring’s journey as a shapeshifter… that accidentally stumbles upon the corpse of a villager and decides to take the investigation into her own hands, with the help of her abilities. Mabel was a little boyish while growing, bright and a little know it all. She learned how to read and write, which was very uncommon for a woman in the 13th century. She became an orphan at the age of 13, but she was her own mistress, with a house of her own and a work at the village’s Manor. She’s resourceful and independent which makes her a very believable detective. The plot is coherent, adding some very interesting twists and a very satisfactory outcome. It also has the introduction of a love interest with the promise of more mystery solving to come as a team. I’ll be looking forward to reading more books in the series!
Thanks NetGalley, BooksGoSocial and Susanna M.Newstead for an ARC to review. The first book in a new series starring Mabel, the smart fast witted shape shifter. During one of her adventures not in a human form, she runs into a body and our medieval unique investigator begins her murder mystery solving, aided by a handsome Knight, the odd couple delve into the puzzle trying to stop the killing spree. I absolutely loved it and looking forward to the next book.
I must say that the cover is stunning. It has a perfect colour and the animals on it are gorgeous. It caught my attention the second I saw it and I knew it'll be a book for me! If I'd see it in the store, I'd buy it immediately. I truly enjoyed the story of Mabel who's a shapeshifter and who can change to any animal she likes. She's exploring her village, loving being a bird. The years pass and she tried any shape she found interesting and possible (the animals bigger than her are very exhausting). During one of her adventures, she notices a body. A dead man who was murdered. Mabel decides to investigate the case and changing into tiny animals that can go undetected, she's listening to the villagers trying to find a killer. The characters are loveable, the plot interesting and the resolution satisfying. The only thing I'd say that the language could be improved, because I felt like I'm reading a middle grade story (which with brutal murder and cheating wives probably isn't a book for this audience) instead of an adult one.
★ Upon the thirteenth hour of the thirteenth day, upon her thirteenth birthday Mabel Wetherspring discovers that she is a shapeshifter ★ This was an absolutely delightful read. It starts out with a 13th century [1200 to 1212] young free girl still under the Lords law if not his overt property right after a village dance that goes off into the woods & turns around & shape shifts. The author is a medievalist so it makes sense she was able to brig this whimsical creature to life. Looking forward to more books in a series of this area