Author: Jen De Luca
Publication Date: September 3, 2019
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Women’s Fiction
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★
All’s faire in love and war for two sworn enemies who indulge in a harmless flirtation in a laugh-out-loud rom-com from debut author, Jen DeLuca.
Emily knew there would be strings attached when she relocated to the small town of Willow Creek, Maryland, for the summer to help her sister recover from an accident, but who could anticipate getting roped into volunteering for the local Renaissance Faire alongside her teenaged niece? Or that the irritating and inscrutable schoolteacher in charge of the volunteers would be so annoying that she finds it impossible to stop thinking about him?
The faire is Simon’s family legacy and from the start he makes clear he doesn’t have time for Emily’s lighthearted approach to life, her oddball Shakespeare conspiracy theories, or her endless suggestions for new acts to shake things up. Yet on the faire grounds he becomes a different person, flirting freely with Emily when she’s in her revealing wench’s costume. But is this attraction real, or just part of the characters they’re portraying?
This summer was only ever supposed to be a pit stop on the way to somewhere else for Emily, but soon she can’t seem to shake the fantasy of establishing something more with Simon, or a permanent home of her own in Willow Creek.
Well Met is a book I picked up because all of my romance reader friends have been raving about it. Since they all loved it, I figured I would as well. I was right! It was so good. I couldn’t believe Well Met is Jen DeLuca’s début novel. It was so well written. It felt like a book by a seasoned author. It packed so much emotion — it even brought tears to my eyes. I was impressed by this début.
Normally, I like my romances to have dual points of view. Well Met didn’t have that. The entire story was told through Emily’s eyes. I was surprised at how well this worked for me. I think it’s because the romance, while a big part, wasn’t the complete focus of the story. It was more about how Emily was healing from a break up, moving to a small town, reuniting with her sister and niece, and working through what was next for her. I loved experiencing her figuring it all out.
I have to admit I was a little apprehensive about the Renaissance Faire theme. I wasn’t sure if this setting would work for me or not. It did. I found myself loving the scenes at the faire. They added another level to Emily and Simon’s relationship that I wasn’t expecting.
As for Emily and Simon… I really liked them together. I liked them together so much that I was a little sad that there wasn’t as much to it as I was hoping. Don’t get me wrong, there were a lot of deep and important moments between them. It’s hard to explain, but their romance was a slow burn that felt kind of like insta-love. It took a while for them to get together, but they were in love the minute they were finally together. I felt like I missed something in between those stages. Maybe I just had a hard time combining their acting at the faire with their real life romance.
Overall, this was a strong début novel. It was filled with memorable characters and a great story line. It’s made me very excited to find out what’s next for Jen DeLuca. Selfishly, I’m hoping this novel becomes a series and I get to know more of the other characters better.