Book Reviews

Review: The Renaissance of Gwen Hathaway by Ashley Schumacher

If you love a story about fate, love, and grief, this is for you. The Renaissance of Gwen Hathaway is charming and perfect for the summer! Keep reading this book review for my full thoughts.


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 favourite 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.


(Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)

TW: fatphobia

The Renaissance of Gwen Hathaway is a story about grief and loss, it’s about trying to figure out our mental health, and new friendships. To search for a moment of silence, but see the pain in that silence of sitting with our feelings. At the same time, it’s about fate. About knowing that we can create our own future. That there’s still some magic in our world. For Madeline, she’s used to letting the coin decide her fate and to seeing the end before the beginning.

But we have the pen to ink our journey. To choose the decisions in between, the moments before the last page. Additionally, The Renaissance of Gwen Hathaway tackles Madeline’s own summer of discovery. Of navigating the fatphobia of the world and her own feelings, the hard conversations which push ourselves out of our complacency. To be have the courage to take up space in a world which doesn’t let us.

(Disclaimer: Some of the links below are affiliate links. For more information you can look at the Policy page. If you’re uncomfortable with that, know you can look up the book on any of the sites below to avoid the link)

The Renaissance of Gwen Hathaway is a precious book about feeling like we have the choice to trust to trust people and ourselves. It should be an instant read if you love Renaissance Fairs! Find The Renaissance of Gwen Hathaway on Goodreads, Storygraph, Amazon,, & Blackwells.


What is your favorite literary Renaissance Faire?

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