Set the Stage

Emilie Danvers wins a place in the Oregon Shakespeare Festival’s company and gets a second chance to launch her acting career. She’s vowed never to repeat the mistakes she made the first time: no following her heart, no putting herself second to someone else, no relationship drama. She won’t let any woman keep her from reconnecting with her dreams.

Arden Philips has stood on the outskirts of the festival for years, tending the gardens of nearby Lithia Park. She’s seen actresses come and go and only allows herself the occasional dalliance. But when she comes across Emilie rehearsing on a mossy riverbank, Arden realizes her heart might not listen to her head.

The stage is set, the house lights dimmed. Is true love merely make-believe or can these two women write it into the script of their lives?

Walsh is the kind of author I’ve come to enjoy because she dependable when it comes to needing a book that provides a decent romantic storyline that feels breezy and well written. The one you want to read on a bright, shiny day that will make you feel just as warm and sunshiny on the inside as you are experiencing on the outside. No stressed out, drama filled, angst ridden plots for her and this one continues in that tradition.

Settings are an artwork for her as she creates these places that feel so real and vivid you wish you could hop in a car or plane to go walk where her characters are to experience what they get to on the pages of her book. I really wanted to attend the Shakespeare Festival by the time I was finished reading this.

Her character work is as good as the places she’s created so they feel like realistic people making the whole picture enjoyable. What Emilie is going through, trying to regain some control in her life, is something most of us have been through so how she has her handling it and how she feels is believable. Arden hasn’t seemed to have learned from her past dating history, something we can all again relate to, so you both want to tell her to stop repeating the same choices but encourage her as well because this time it might actually be worth it.

I liked how their relationship played out and where Walsh took them as individuals and as a potential love interest for the other.

If you’ve read and loved her books before then you’ll feel good about this one too.

Thank you to Netgalley and Bold Strokes Books for allowing me to review this!

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