THE RENAISSANCE OF GWEN HATHAWAY, by Ashley Schumacher, Wednesday Books, March 14, 2023, Hardcover, $19.99 (young adult)
A teen girl discovers her own worth while grieving her mother in Ashley Schumacher’s The Renaissance of Gwen Hathaway.
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. —Synopsis provided by Wednesday Books
It’s hard not to get caught up in The Renaissance of Gwen Hathaway. The jousts, royalty, castles, food. Author Ashley Schumacher immediately immerses readers in the world of renaissance fairs — specifically the one that has the most meaning to her protagonist, Gwen.
And you can tell that Schumacher has an affinity for medieval re-creation. Her descriptions bring events to life while still leaving room for readers to fill in the gaps. The setting has this sort of warm glow to it.
And so does Maddie and Arthur’s relationship. Between the banter and sincere conversations, it’s hard not to like the duo. Maddie’s journey of self-discovery and Arthur’s earnest nature make this book worth reading.
The Renaissance of Gwen Hathaway is a cute contemporary YA romance that is thoughtful and relatable. It’s a great choice heading into upcoming spring breaks.
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