This series was my favorite obsession last year. I binge read the books and loved them all in their own ways and had no idea that Renaissance Fair romance was even a thing that I would be into but here we are. I honestly thought the third book would be the last as most of the reoccurring characters had indeed met their matches but then this one came up as Dex’s story. If you have read the previous books you will remember Dex as the Ren Fair Romeo who has a ‘girl at every fair’ that he hooks up with. So I thought this one sounded like it would be a solid read and was eager to start it!
This series is so quirky, when I think of hot romances I do not think of Renaissance Fairs as the setting for that, but after reading the first book I was fully hooked and thought this was a really new and refreshing take on a contempo romance. I loved the setting and characters that we continue to meet through out the series. I will say that this particular book is the fourth one in the series and while it can certainly be read as a standalone, there are references to former relationships and character history that might be further appreciated by reading the other books in the series first.
I had high hopes for this one. Mostly because Dax has been in every book, or at least mentioned in every book and his history is well established and the ‘rake’. I was so excited to see the woman that finally swept him off his feet and made him settle down. I was a little surprised that it was a character that we had formerly met (hence why I feel like readers would get more out of this one having read the other books in the series first). Louisa wouldn’t have been my first pick for Dax, but I like Louisa and was eager to see how this whole romance came about and played out on the fields of the Ren Fair!
A high-powered attorney from a success-oriented family, Louisa “Lulu” Malone lives to work, and everything seems to be going right, until the day she realizes it’s all wrong. Lulu’s cousin Mitch introduced her to the world of Renaissance Faires, and when she spies one at a time just when she needs an escape, she leaps into the welcoming environment of turkey legs, taverns, and tarot readers. The only drawback? Dex MacLean: a guitarist with a killer smile, the Casanova of the Faire… and her traveling companion for the summer.
Dex has never had to work for much in his life, and why should he? Touring with his brothers as The Dueling Kilts is going great, and he always finds a woman at every Faire. But when Lulu proves indifferent to his many plaid charms and a shake-up threatens the fate of the band, Dex must confront something he never has before: his future.
Forced to spend days and nights together on the road, Lulu’s interest in the kilted bad boy grows as he shows her a side of himself no one else has seen. The stresses of her old lifestyle fade away as she learns to trust her intuition and follow her heart instead of her head. But when her time on the road is over, will Lulu go with her gut, or are she and Dex destined for separate paths?
The Renaissance Faire is on the move, and Lulu and Dex are along for the ride, in the next utterly charming rom-com from Jen DeLuca. (summary from Goodreads)
This one was hard for me to review. On one hand I liked Louisa and could identify with her and I think a lot of women readers will too. Especially those who are trying to navigate a career. Louisa was the perfect representation of the struggle that so many women have—-Be successful. Climb the cooperate ladder. Have it all. Career. Kids. Family. Be all the things. You are woman, you are a bad ass—-but in reality you might also be horribly unhappy. Louisa’s character really spoke to me and I loved how right away this is addressed. She is a workaholic who is trying to make the cooperate climb but she is unhappy and lonely and essentially wasting her best years trying to be all the things. Her character felt so real to me. I laughed so hard when she threw her phone in the water bucket and basically told her boss to go F himself. Such a strong beginning to this book. It was such a strong set up and I was absolutely here for this journey and romance that was no doubt to come. But then……it never really did.
Sure Louisa and Dax become a thing and there is a HEA but for me this book did not read like romance, it felt more women’s fiction/chick lit with romance as an after thoughts. I never really bought into Louisa and Dax as anything more than just another fling. For me there wasn’t enough chemistry or time together to make me feel like Dax felt anything more for Louisa than lust. I didn’t feel their emotional connection at all. So much focus was placed on Louisa’s choices and future and soul searching that it didn’t leave enough time for romance. So when romance did come into play it felt off and forced. I just didn’t buy how it all went down especially after so much emphasis was placed on Dex being this big ladies man in all the other previous books. I think if you are picking this one up for the first time this might now be as big of a deal but for those who have read the other books in the series, I think they will have a hard time reconciling the Dex in this book to the Dex of the other books.
In some ways this series had sort of ran its course for me. This one, while ok, wasn’t on par with the others in the series. Sure I liked Louisa and her journey was interesting but I think the end result and execution of the romance felt lacking. In some ways Louisa’s journey had so much promise but as it came to a conclusion I had real fears that she would end up right back where she was in the beginning. I think there needed to be more personal growth and a better realization of self to come out of the summer ‘vacation’ than what we got. It wasn’t a bad story but for a story billed as romance, the romance felt lacking and I felt like I needed more in Louisa’s growth to justify the story. I would say this book was just ok for me. I would likely continue reading another book in this series because the others have been great, but honestly I expected a lot more from this one and left feeling disappointed.
Book Info and Rating
Format 305 pages, Paperback
Published December 6, 2022 by Berkley
ISBN 9780593200469 (ISBN10: 0593200462)
Review copy provided by personal collection, all opinions are my own and in no way influenced.
Rating: 2 stars
Genre: contempo romance, romance