Well Met by Jen DeLuca
Publication Date: September 3rd 2019
Genre: Romance / contemporary / Women’s Fiction
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.
*** Note: I received e-copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review. Many thanks to PRHGlobal for free copy. ***
Well Met was cute, refreshing romance with hate to love arc that revolved around caring organized Emily, uptight rule-follower Simon, and Willow Creek renaissance fair with its historical theme. It was about family love, belongingness, getting over grief, letting others help and share responsibility, and need of change without affecting the essence of originality. The message was deep and thought provoking.
Emily was great character. She was most caring, responsible, organized, sensitive, and selfless. She dropped out of college for person who never promised her anything and that tells all about her. I mean who would do that in this world! I loved the way she put things behind and moved on to help her sister. Her ideas for fair and bookstore was great. I felt for her in all situation whether it was sharing her past, being affected by rudeness of Simon, making friends at fair, helping her sister and others in the town or love and heartbreak. Her development was impressive, I’m glad she stood up for herself and didn’t repeat her mistake of being secondary and worthless for anyone.
Simon was uptight, rule-follower, English teacher and sole organizer of fair. Fair was his life that connected him to his brother. I didn’t like the way he behaved but as I read more about him it felt there was more to him than this cold, serious, and angry Simon. There was that carefree, flirting, and freely smiling The Pirate Simon, a character he was playing in fair. I bet he will grow on you pretty fast. He kept juggling this two sides that confused both Emily and me. His behavior at certain places was idiotic especially at climax. But liked him and the change in him after he met Emily.
I loved all the side characters. They were all nice, supported Emily and never let her feel outsider.
What I liked–
Writing was fabulous. I loved it from the very first line, “I didn’t choose the wench life, the wench life chose me.” It was gripping. Character introduction, Willow Creek, Renaissance fair, Elizabethan setting of the fair, romance, hate to love arc everything was immaculately described in refreshing and emotive voice of Emily.
It started with Emily being supportive sister, taking care of April (her sister) and Caitlin (her niece), while April was recovering from accident that put her on bedrest for few months. When Emily drove Caitlin to high school where she was going to sign up for renaissance fair, volunteers talked Emily into participating too. Now she didn’t have anything to do this summer, April was recovering day by day, she had to support Caitlin, and hot muscular Mitch in kilt was tempting to refuse the offer. This summer was fun and entertaining both for Emily and reader. Well not that fun for Emily. As There was that uptight Simon making her uncomfortable and giving her hard time. Looked like he wanted her to leave fair but why? Story took interesting turn once the fair started.
I was curious to know– why Simon was so serious all the time, what happened to his brother, why he behaved rudely to Emily, can Emily win him over their never ceasing arguments, will Simon thaw and accept her help, what will she do once April is recovered, will she stay in this small town, community where she felt she belonged or Simon will mess it all up.
Shakespeare lovers would love to read this as there was idea of Shakespeare theme, his plays and sonnet. Now I haven’t read Shakespeare so I cannot comment on it but what I loved most was, Willow Creek, its people and fair. Community spirit was lovely. I also don’t know a thing about renaissance fair but author gave picture perfect details of it. I loved knowing everything about it and the way characters entertained visitors of fair.
I loved sisterly relation between April and Emily. They helped each other when needed, gave uplifting advice, never judging other. Their relation grew so much in the story. Emily’s friendship with Mitch, Chris and Stacey was lovely.
As the narration was from Emily’s perspective, we don’t get to know what was going on in Simon’s mind. I judged him based on Emily’s thoughts and emotions and it also made Simon unpredictable and mysterious. At first I thought there should be dual narration but as story progressed I think author did wonderful job and I wouldn’t want to change it.
It was fun reading the story of Emily and Simon. I enjoyed bickering and small fight between them in first half. They disliked each other, Emily couldn’t stand Simon and there was time she even tried to do all to avoid Simon’s dagger throwing stare and Simon was out to find teeny tiniest fault in Emily and whatever she did. But once they started knowing each other, the chemistry between them was lovable and award-winning. Romance between them was steamy, hot, and sizzling. I’m not usually fan of sex scene but trust me here it was amazing.
Romance and humor was as expected but what surprised me was the tears in my eyes during climax. I’m not much crier but seeing Emily what she experienced and felt was heart breaking. Things taken place from climax to end was interesting. End was sweet. I wouldn’t want it any other way and epilogue was cherry on cake.
Overall, it was feel good, gripping, and dramatic romantic comedy with lovey small town and fun fair. It’s perfect summer read. I highly recommend this book.
What do you think about the book and review? Have you read this book already? Are you going to add it to TBR? Are you fan of enemy-to-lover trope or friends-to-lover? Have you read any book in which fair is important element? Recommend me your favorite in this genre.
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