Release Date: Sep 3, 2019
Heat Level: Sensual/Hot
Publisher: Penguin Group
Emily; 24 years old, unemployed, and recently dumped by her long term boyfriend moves to the small town of Willow Creek, Maryland, to help out her sister and niece as they recover from a car accident. For Emily this is a great chance to escape from her regular life and throw herself into being there for her family. Her niece, Caitlin has volunteered to be a part of the renaissance fair that the town holds each year, as Emily goes to drop her off at the first meeting she is volun-told that in order for Caitlin to work the fair Emily will also have to! So Emily soon becomes Emma, the town’s tavern wench. Unfortunately for Emily, Simon, the handsome man in charge of the fair seemed to take an immediate dislike to her. Simon, Willow Creek’s high school English teacher, is very protective of the fair, and wants everything to go perfectly in honor of his brother – he will not tolerate halfhearted attempts.
I think we all can tell where this story is going, and it very predictably follows that route. I enjoyed the first 70% of this story and then it got a bit boring for me. At the start I really enjoyed the back and forth between Emily and Simon, some of their conversations made me actually laugh out loud. Growing up in a big city (Toronto) I had never known that renaissance fairs were a thing, so reading about the town setting one up and practicing for it was all new to me and was very interesting. I also loved how Emily was a tavern wench and Simon turned into a pirate and they both really got into their roles – it was like a little Halloween romance or a masquerade romance.
All of this kept me enthralled and turning the pages until a certain point where I felt like the story plateaued. Once the chase and all of the angst was gone, I was left with the realization that I did not really know much about the characters beyond what could be learned in a conversation. Once I wasn’t so excited about wondering how Simon and Emily would finally hook up, I realized that everything I knew about them as well as the secondary characters was very surface level. For example why exactly does Emily’s sister never interact with the folks in the town? I felt like this was something so small but could have been explored a bit more so that we really got to understand the person that Emily packed up her life to go help. This was just one small example, and this lack of a deeper understanding of the characters led me to become a bit bored towards the end of the novel.
Overall, it is an easy and fun read, but lacks real depth.