The Renaissance of Gwen Hathaway
by Ashley Schumacher
Publication Date March 14, 2023
Published by St. Martin's Publishing Group
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Genres: Young Adult Fiction / Romance / Contemporary, Young Adult Fiction / Romance / Romantic Comedy
***I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.***
"Ashley Schumacher's latest novel is a delightful read, with diverse characters and an irresistible setting. The Renaissance of Gwen Hathaway proves that there's no better place to find yourself than at a Renaissance Faire." - Jen Deluca, author of Well Met
Dumplin' meets Well Met in this novel about finding your place in the world, learning love is a risk worth taking, and discovering what happens when you take your fate into your own hands.
Since her mother’s death, Madeline “Gwen” Hathaway has been determined that nothing in her life will change ever again. That’s why she keeps extensive lists in journals, has had only one friend since childhood, and looks forward to the monotony of working the ren faire circuit with her father. Until she arrives at her mother’s favorite end-of-tour stop to find the faire is under new management and completely changed.
Meeting Arthur, the son of the new owners and an actual lute-playing bard, messes up Maddie’s plans even more. For some reason, he wants to be her friend - and ropes her into becoming Princess of the Faire. Now Maddie is overseeing a faire dramatically changed from what her mother loved and going on road trips vastly different from the routine she used to rely on. Worst of all, she’s kind of having fun.
Ashley Schumacher's The Renaissance of Gwen Hathaway is filled with a wise old magician who sells potion bottles, gallant knights who are afraid of horses and ride camels instead, kings with a fondness for theatrics, a lazy river castle moat with inflatable crocodile floaties, and a plus-sized heroine with a wide open heart... if only she just admits it.
"Set in one of my favorite places in the world — a Renaissance Faire full of jousts, royalty, bards, and castles— this is a wise, beautiful, funny book with tremendous heart. I absolutely loved it." - Jamie Pacton, author of The Life and (Medieval) Times of Kit Sweetly and Lucky Girl
The Renaissance of Gwen Hathaway by Ashley Schumacher is a lovely, emotional young adult, romantic comedy that I just loved. The setting of a renaissance fair, and a delightful set of characters make this a wonderful book.
Madeline “Gwen” Hathaway has worked the renaissance fair circuit with her parents for most of her life. Her mother passed away a year ago, and now it’s just her dad and her working the circuit. Now Madeline has decided that nothing more can change, because she can’t bear another loss, and she’s determined to keep it that way.
Madeline and her father return to the ren fair for the summer and realize the fair has new owners. And nothing is like it was before. She meets Authur, the son of the owners and he is determined to be her friend and called her Gwen, as she is his Guinevere. Eventually, Gwen realizes that change is ok and Arthur isn’t as bad as she first thought.
I love a good renaissance fair setting and I felt like I was at the fair with Gwen and Arthur. Gwen is stuck in her grief and needs help. Arthur isn’t the help she expected, but it turns out that he is the help she needs. Grief can be messy and everyone is different I thought the author did a wonderful job of handling this subject for the YA audience.
I enjoyed their slow-burn romance, loved both characters, and rooted for them during the entire book. I loved how Gwen and Arthur became friends first and then built on that friendship for something more. Arthur is a bit of a dork, and awkward at times, and that just endeared him to me.
I highly recommend The Renaissance of Gwen Hathaway to anyone who enjoys young adult romance. I received a complimentary copy of this book. The opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
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