Audience: Contemporary Romance
Length: 336 pages
Author: Jen DeLuca
Release Date: October 19th, 2021
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads
An accidentally in-love rom-com filled with Renaissance Faire flower crowns, kilts, corsets, and sword fights.
Single mother April Parker has lived in Willow Creek for twelve years with a wall around her heart. On the verge of being an empty nester, she’s decided to move on from her quaint little town, and asks her friend Mitch for his help with some home improvement projects to get her house ready to sell.
Mitch Malone is known for being the life of every party, but mostly for the attire he wears to the local Renaissance Faire–a kilt (and not much else) that shows off his muscled form to perfection. While he agrees to help April, he needs a favor too: she’ll pretend to be his girlfriend at an upcoming family dinner, so that he can avoid the lectures about settling down and having a more “serious” career than high school coach and gym teacher. April reluctantly agrees, but when dinner turns into a weekend trip, it becomes hard to tell what’s real and what’s been just for show. But when the weekend ends, so must their fake relationship.
As summer begins, Faire returns to Willow Creek, and April volunteers for the first time. When Mitch’s family shows up unexpectedly, April pretends to be Mitch’s girlfriend again…something that doesn’t feel so fake anymore. Despite their obvious connection, April insists they’ve just been putting on an act. But when there’s the chance for something real, she has to decide whether to change her plans–and open her heart–for the kilt-wearing hunk who might just be the love of her life.
Thank you the Berkley and Netgalley for an eARC. All opinions are my own!
Someone please tell me they read that in Andy Dwyer’s voice?
After that brief intro, let me voice my thoughts on this book.
BECAUSE I LOOOOOOVED IT.
All I could want for Mitch and April’s storyline was in here. I have been waiting for this book since Well Met. It wrapped me up and filled me with so many emotions throughout. I finished it in a day because I was so enraptured by this love story.
I love that there was a deeper story for Mitch. I really got to see all of his layers pulled back and see the insecurities that he struggles with. Watching April stand up for him and be by his side brought all the warm fuzzies and fist pumps because I was behind her back saying YEAH TELL ‘EM. The united front brought on by fake-dating (YUP THAT TROPE Y’ALL!!!) gave way to the clear emotional pull between them. [And let’s face it, I’m a total sucker for the fact he wore a kilt for a good portion of this book.]
April frustrated me, but not in an overly annoying way. More of a, I get it, kind of way. She had to work through a lot of feelings. Coping with becoming an empty nester after being a single-mom, seeing her ex again and learning that plans change. And that all of that is okay. But that it’s also okay to have moments of pure doubt and freak out a little because change is scary. Even when I felt exasperated, I still sat in April’s corner cheering her on to her, much deserved, happy ending.
There’s many a trope abound in here. And I love a good mash-up. Fake-dating was already mentioned, but there’s also single bed, age gap, and more. I was wrapped up in all the Ren Fest related and this series always makes me want to pull out a corset and dive into the fray. I ADORED a moment that reminded me of a scene in Grease (and I’m sure many other books/movies, IYKYK because I don’t want to spoil). There was layer upon layer of story here that had me swooning, begging for reconciliation, and rallying for that final push to my favorite kind of HEA.
Overall audience notes:
- Contemporary Romance
- Language: some strong
- Romance: kisses to a few open door scenes
- Trigger/Content Warnings: divorce (husband abandons April), family tension/bullying, abandonment of a child (side character)