Emily knew there would be strings attached when she relocated to the small town of Willow Creek, Maryland, for the summer to help her sister recover from an accident, but who could anticipate getting roped into volunteering for the local Renaissance Faire alongside her teenaged niece? Or that the irritating and inscrutable schoolteacher in charge of the volunteers would be so annoying that she finds it impossible to stop thinking about him? The faire is Simon’s family legacy and from the start he makes clear he doesn’t have time for Emily’s lighthearted approach to life, her oddball Shakespeare conspiracy theories, or her endless suggestions for new acts to shake things up. Yet on the faire grounds he becomes a different person, flirting freely with Emily when she’s in her revealing wench’s costume. But is this attraction real, or just part of the characters they’re portraying? This summer was only ever supposed to be a pit stop on the way to somewhere else for Emily, but soon she can’t seem to shake the fantasy of establishing something more with Simon, or a permanent home of her own in Willow Creek.
When I first read the synopsis for this book, I kind of pushed it to the back burner. I didn’t sound like something I was going to jump at the chance to read. Though, I’m not quite sure where the strong, sudden desire to read it came from, but it did arise. I’ve been wanting to branch out into romance more, this one sounded like something I would enjoy, and I’d seen a lot of people raving about it. So I thought I would give it a try! Trigger warning: grief
Wow, I am very, very glad I gave this book a try. I loved it so much. It was cute and fluffy and just beyond adorable.
I’m actually have a hard time figuring out what else I want to talk about besides just screaming “IT’S VERY GOOD WOW”. But I am going to try.
I didn’t think I would like the Ren Faire aspect of this book. I don’t know why. I love medieval times, with all the dresses and knights and sword fighting. And this was no different. Sure, I don’t think I will ever want to put a bodice on (I was uncomfortable for Emily during those scenes), but I was really neat to watch the whole thing come together. It was cool to the see the process and it was just a really neat aspect. I’ve never been to a Ren Faire and I’ve never even really read a book with on in it. So this was a really, really nice introduction.
The town was also really cute. It’s a small town, where everybody knows everybody. I loved how it blossomed throughout the story. I loved how Emily’s opinions changed and I kind of liked seeing it grow through her eyes if that makes sense? It’s like I became more comfortable with it and fell in love with it with her. The bookstore is adorable and the people are so nice.
I also really enjoyed the characters! Emily was amazing. She’s sweet and likes to help people and organize things and she’s trying to find her place in the world. Simon is uptight, trying to grapple with his own emotions, but still such a solid dude. Cait was adorable, April was fierce, Mitch was hilarious, and Stacey was cool.
(This is honestly just me, but it made me so uncomfortable that Simon was an English teacher at the highschool. Just because I’m barely out of highschool myself, so I found it really weird. I’m only mentioning this because I’m honestly just laughing at myself.)
I always go into romance books thinking there’s only going to be a single POV, but there ends up being two. So, I went into this one thinking there would be two, but there only ended up being one haha. It wasn’t a bad thing, because I loved Emily, but I think it would have added depth to have Simon’s POV as well. I would have liked to see him work through his emotional turmoil and I feel like it would have rounded out the emotional aspect a lot.
Speaking of the emotional aspect! I did enjoy it, but a lot differently than I normally do. Emily and Simon’s struggles weren’t things I could really relate to, but I still enjoyed seeing them grow. This book is so fluffy, that the emotionally heavy parts don’t even really seem that heavy. But this works really well! The characters grow, and it’s messy and they learn. And I also went into this book wanting something light and fluffy, so maybe I just didn’t focus on the emotional plot that much.
Overall, this book is freaking adorable. I loved the romantic relationship. I loved the familial relationships. I loved the friendships. I love Emily trying to figure herself out and learning to put herself first. I loved Simon learning its alright to ask for help and finding out where he fits into the world. This book was just really, really cute and I loved it a lot.
Thank you for reading!