Book Review: Gwen and Art Are Not in Love by Lex Croucher
Gwen and Art Are Not in Love by Lex Croucher
Published: May 11th by Bloomsbury
Rating: ★★★★★ (5)
Genre: Young Adult // Historical, Romance, LGBT
Quick Thoughts: I was completely enthralled by each chapter and laugh-inducing line in this dreamy and wondrous medieval rom-com.
About The Book:
Heartstopper meets A Knight’s Tale in this queer medieval rom com YA debut about love, friendship, and being brave enough to change the course of history.
It’s been hundreds of years since King Arthur’s reign. His descendant, Arthur, a future Lord and general gadabout, has been betrothed to Gwendoline, the quick-witted, short-tempered princess of England, since birth. The only thing they can agree on is that they despise each other.
They’re forced to spend the summer together at Camelot in the run up to their nuptials, and within 24 hours, Gwen has discovered Arthur kissing a boy and Arthur has gone digging for Gwen’s childhood diary and found confessions about her crush on the kingdom’s only lady knight, Bridget Leclair.
Realizing they might make better allies than enemies, they make a reluctant pact to cover for each other, and as things heat up at the annual royal tournament, Gwen is swept off her feet by her knight and Arthur takes an interest in Gwen’s royal brother. Lex Croucher’s Gwen and Art Are Not in Love is chock full of sword-fighting, found family, and romantic shenanigans destined to make readers fall in love.
When I first heard Medieval and Rom-Com in the same sentence, I was, like, what?! And then I read about the book, and was completely and utterly sold. I haven’t read all that much Historical fiction, but I’m a huge romance/rom-com fan, and this looked the perfect blend of a beloved and new genre for me! (And yes, I did listen to medieval ambient music whilst reading.)
Gwendoline, the princess of England, knows exactly what she wants—and it is not Arthur, her troublemaking, childhood enemy, future betrothed. In fact, she could think of someone she would rather be with—not that she knows—the only female knight in the kingdom, Bridget Leclair. Lucky for Gwen, Arthur is on the same page. Despite getting a kick out of making her life awkward, he would much rather wreak havoc and eye-up Gwen’s brother and future king, Gabriel. And after finding out one another’s secrets of the heart, they strike a sort of deal: pretend to be fond of one another and cover for each other to go after what they truly want.
But love stories are hardly straight-forward, and Gwen and Art find themselves in various bouts of trouble during the annual royal tournament. Gwen’s royal Parents are ushering her toward her nuptials at an alarming rate when all she wants is to cling to Bridget’s side and protect her through battles and stolen moments. Arthur is taking bookish Gabriel’s dismissals of how far their growing feelings could go to heart, despite encouragement from his best friend and sort-of wing-man, Sidney. And all the meanwhile, Camelot is in increasing danger from an enemy creeping close within. Even with rivals Gwen and Art throwing their shields down and actually growing on each other, it’s not enough to prepare for war—and just how much they’ve got that will be lost in the battle.
Overall, Gwen & Art Are Not In Love rooted into my heart from the get-go. This contemporary romance lover was completely enthralled by the medieval landscape, each chapter and laugh-inducing line winning me over. Gwen was this headstrong, magnificent character that just needed belief in herself. Arthur was your typical “naughty-boy” type, but at his core, had a heart of solid gold. I absolutely adored all the side characters, from Gabriel to Bridget, Sidney and Agnes (even the cat and crow.) My heart truly belongs to this animated, dreamy and wondrous medieval rom-com. I’d read books and books about these characters, and saying goodbye to them was much more difficult than I anticipated. This book deserves far more than five stars—millions and millions. Consider me a newfound Lex Croucher fan!
About The Author
Lex Croucher grew up in Surrey, reading a lot of books and making friends with strangers on the internet, and now lives in London with an elderly cat. With a background in social media for NGOs, Lex now writes historical-ish rom coms for adults (REPUTATION, INFAMOUS) and historical fantasy rom coms for teenagers. GWEN AND ART ARE NOT IN LOVE is their YA debut.
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