Monday, September 9, 2019

Melinda's Review: Well Met

Well Met by Jen DeLuca
Publisher: Berkley (September 3, 2019)
Genre: Contemporary Romance (M/F)

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.

Where to Buy*:
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Content Warnings: grief, past death of a sibling due to non-Hodgkins, car accident

Melinda's Review:

I was so genuinely excited for this book and when I got it I swept everything aside to read it and I am so happy that it didn't disappoint! Emily has a lot going on when her boyfriend basically dumps her after she'd supported him and put her dreams on hold. So when her sister was in an accident she doesn't think anything of it to move in with her to help her for the summer. Somehow when that turns into her volunteering at a RenFaire with her teenage niece this didn't even strike me as odd lol!

Honestly, Jen DeLuca, in this debut, did manage that pretty smoothly. Which surprised me. Because when I started reading I was guessing it was going to be a Renaissance Faire romance in the sense that it was going to be two Ren Faire nerds falling in love - and I was all in on that idea already! But then when Emily was a newbie to this all I was trepidatious at that whole concept. But DeLuca was smart with this because by making her a novice she was able to introduce all of the fun Faire ideas to the readers as well. So when Emily scoffed at the costumes so did we. But also, when Em slowly fell in love with the idea of finding herself and her found family through Faire, the readers could relate as well.

Em's character arc was incredibly strong and I loved her. I just really appreciated her examining her life choices and trying to figure out if dropping out of college was right for her. I loved seeing her maneuvering that along with her family, the Faire, and just life.

And then there's Simon, oh I love him. He's super pissy, which does not seem like an attractive quality, but I'll fight you on that, because Simon is HOT. I absolutely enjoyed Emily and Simon and their antagonistic relationship slowly evolve into...something else.

And then the quiet depiction of grief. That's really beautifully done in my opinion. Everyone deals differently and I will always love seeing men taking an emotional journey in any book. And to see him come to grasp with his grief after so long and to have Emily help with that was rather powerful to me.

There are delightful side characters like her sister April and her niece Caitlin, both of whom I enjoyed a lot. I particularly loved the side plot of the bookstore and Emily figuring out her real life outside of Faire - along with Simon doing the same.

Overall, I just loved this book and thought that DeLuca did a wonderful job of showing the fun and nerdy side of the Renaissance Faire. But also this is just a really great romance from beginning to end. I'm excited to see what comes next from Jen DeLuca.

4 1/2 STARS! 

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Source: eARC, NetGalley

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Thanks for the review, Melinda! 


Until Next Time,

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