Published by BERKLEY on September 3, 2019
Genres: Romance, Contemporary Fiction
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FTC Disclosure: I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
WELL MET Review
Jen DeLuca’s Well Met is one of the most adorable books I’ve read in a while. It follows a young woman named Emily, who is going through a rough patch when we first meet her. She has dropped out of college, lost her job, and her long-term, live-in boyfriend wants to end things, which has also left her basically homeless.
When her sister is severely injured in a car accident and needs someone to help care for her, Emily agrees to move to her sister’s place in the tiny town of Willow Creek, Maryland for the summer. While Emily knew she would also be helping out with her teenage niece, Caitlyn, driving her around, etc, what she didn’t realize was that she would find herself roped into volunteering at the local Renaissance Faire all summer too. Even though she’s completely dreading having to take part in the Faire, especially after encountering Simon, the horribly gruff Faire coordinator, whom she immediately dubs the “RenFaire Killjoy,” Emily has no idea that this whole experience could end up being exactly the thing she needs to get her life back on track.
I honestly loved everything about this book. Emily was such a fantastic character, one of those messy, complicated characters that I love so much because she just seems so authentic. She could easily be me or any one of my friends. I loved getting inside of her head as she dreads the whole Faire experience but then gradually starts to warm up to it as she gets into the groove and starts making friends. I also loved that even though she and her sister have never been close, she was truly willing to put her entire life on hold to come and help out. I think that says a lot about her.
Speaking of which, I also loved the family vibe of the book. Yes, I think the book is primarily meant to be a romance, but it also has this wonderful dynamic between Emily and her sister, and of course, between Emily and her niece. It’s really sweet watching them all bond as a family as they spend more and more time together. And again, speaking to Emily’s character, I thought it was wonderful that she agreed to participate in the Faire, just because it was so important to her niece.
As much as I adored Emily, I actually think Simon, aka the RenFaire Killjoy, was my favorite character. Yes, he’s grouchy and pretty awful to Emily when she first joins the Faire, but once we learn more of his story and how heartbreaking it truly is, I just wanted to give Simon a hug. I thought the author did a wonderful job of peeling back the layers of this character each time Emily encounters him, letting her and us really get to see the real Simon and what a caring person he is. The more I got to know Simon, the more I wanted him and Emily to move forward together.
I also adored the charming small town setting and the whole atmosphere of the Renaissance Faire. It provided such a fun backdrop to offset some of the more emotional scenes between Simon and Emily. I loved the jousting, the hand binding ceremonies, the tavern atmosphere, and especially the laugh out loud moments that frequently took place between Faire castmates who were all about having a good time and making the most of their Faire experience. I’ve been to my share of Faires and DeLuca captures the whole atmosphere perfectly and really makes you feel like you’re there.
Well Met is truly a delightful novel about family, love, and finding your place in the world. It made me laugh, it made me shed a tear or two, and it was just all around a wonderful reading experience. I highly recommend it to everyone!
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.