Gwen and Art Are Not In Love

Lex Croucher

Gwen and Art Are Not In Love is a stunning YA fiction debut from Lex Croucher.

This queer, historical romp follows our protagonists Gwen and Art in a post-Arthurian medieval world. Betrothed since birth, Gwendoline and Arthur have been assumed to be a perfect match, ready to unite territories and bridge a religious divide across the nation. There’s just one slight hiccup – they absolutely detest one another.

Forced to spend a summer together in Camelot ahead of the wedding, it quickly becomes apparent that it’s not just personalities that are holding Gwen and Art apart, they share one rather massive secret… It all begins to unravel when Gwen discovers Art kissing a boy, and Art find’s Gwen’s diaries which are very focused on a particular female knight of the realm.

In a hilarious and heartfelt twist the ‘enemies to lovers’ fiction trope is turned on its head, with these enemies becoming faux-lovers (embracing the ‘fake dating’ trope fully) then becoming friends protecting each other from the homophobic reality of their kingdom.

Alongside Gwen and Art, who are fantastic, fleshed out characters, there’s also a stunning supporting cast including Gwen’s bookish, repressed brother Gabriel, Bridget the female knight facing pressures of her own, and witty, funny friends throughout.

This is a wonderful, light-hearted queer love story which doesn’t shy away from the pressures placed on young people discovering themselves and their sexualities in an unaccepting environment, and also tackles the reality of violence and bloodshed in medieval England. 

A brilliant book for the young adult reader looking for a playful romance novel, and an excellent comfort read.

Published by Bloomsbury YA

Reviewed by Veronica Quinn