WELL MET by Jen DeLuca

From the Back Cover

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.

My Thoughts

I absolutely devoured Jen DeLuca’s WELL MET over the course of a Saturday afternoon.  What a charming book!  I’ve been getting really into contemporary romance and romantic comedies lately; especially during my busy semesters, it’s nice to have a break from my 4,000 page Norton Shakespeare anthology and dive into a sweet love story.  WELL MET is no exception: in fact, in may be one of my favorite romances so far.

One thing that sets WELL MET apart from the rest is the detailed environment that DeLuca creates for her characters.  A Renaissance Faire in the middle of the woods sure seems like quite the place to fall in love; add a quaint, small-town bookshop and it’s like the perfect ’90s rom-com!  I quickly fell in love with the Ren Faire setting, with its wenches, pirates, queens, and, most importantly, kilted men.

“We have in our midst a woman named Emma.  She is a tavern wench of great beauty, whose smile lights up the day like the sun, and the night like the moon.  She has absolutely stolen my heart, but I do not mind in the least.  In fact, if she would agree to keep my heart and take good care of it, I would never want it back.”

A common complaint I have while reading romance is the tendency for the main character to be whiny and needy, but WELL MET’s heroine, Emma, is a caring, down-to-earth woman with whose problems feel real and perhaps even under-exaggerated.  Though in the immediate aftermath of a tragic break-up, Emma is tasked with taking care of her niece and older sister, a job so time-consuming that she has no time left to take care of herself.  Throughout the course of the novel, I grew to feel for Emma and I admire the way she faced her challenges.

WELL MET by Jen DeLuca is a charming romance novel, a typical enemies-to-lovers tale that takes place in an especially unique environment, a small-town Renaissance Faire.  It’s a well-paced, well-written story; fun, steamy, and charming, it was the perfect read to pull me out of my post-midterm stress bubble.  I am eager to return to the faire in DeLuca’s next book!

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