Tuesday, March 14, 2023

The better to dream of you: THE RENAISSANCE OF GWEN HATHAWAY.

The Renaissance of Gwen HathawayThe Renaissance of Gwen Hathaway by Ashley Schumacher
My rating: 4+ of 5 stars

It's been nearly one year since Madeline's mom died. She grew up with her parents on the renaissance faire circuit, being homeschooled and helping her parents with their faire booth. Now it's just her and her dad and Maddie finds herself scared she'll forget things about those she loves, so she keeps a journal, marking down "noticings" of everything that happens. Then she meets Arthur, the son of the owners of her latest faire. Arthur seems determined to break through Maddie's walls and become her friend, inviting her to become the Princess of the faire. Maddie doesn't want to get attached to anyone ever again, but Arthur makes it pretty difficult.

This is such a sweet book that delves into the insecurities of teenage life and the difficulties of grief and loss. Maddie (nicknamed "Gwen" by Arthur) is a lovely character recovering from the loss of her mother. She is a darling introvert and the book does an excellent job of portraying her awkwardness and her body issues. It's so wonderful to see a book that discusses a character who is awkward, overweight, funny, and kind. I really loved Maddie. And Arthur is a genuine and kind character as well, being raised by two dads (!) in a castle. There are a ton of fun ren faire references. Maddie and Arthur's romance is a slow, gentle one. This is not a steamy book, but it's a touching one. Their family and friends are witty and cute. I was a bit frustrated with some of the misunderstandings (Maddie thinking Arthur liked another girl, for instance). Overall, this is a very sweet YA story, though. 4+ stars.

I received a copy of this book from Netgalley and Wednesday Books in return for an unbiased review. Look for it on 3/14/2023!!

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