Well Matched was fast paced, realistic, and lovely Age gap romance with relatable and realistic characters and life situations.
Well Matched (Well Met #3) by Jen DeLuca
Publication Date : October 19th 2021
Publisher : Berkley
Genre : Romance
Pages : 336
Disclaimer – I received e-copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley. Many thanks to PRH international and NetGalley.
This post contains affiliate links.
Previous book in series-
An accidentally in-love rom-com filled with Renaissance Faire flower crowns, kilts, corsets, and sword fights.
Single mother April Parker has lived in Willow Creek for twelve years with a wall around her heart. On the verge of being an empty nester, she’s decided to move on from her quaint little town, and asks her friend Mitch for his help with some home improvement projects to get her house ready to sell.
Mitch Malone is known for being the life of every party, but mostly for the attire he wears to the local Renaissance Faire–a kilt (and not much else) that shows off his muscled form to perfection. While he agrees to help April, he needs a favor too: she’ll pretend to be his girlfriend at an upcoming family dinner, so that he can avoid the lectures about settling down and having a more “serious” career than high school coach and gym teacher. April reluctantly agrees, but when dinner turns into a weekend trip, it becomes hard to tell what’s real and what’s been just for show. But when the weekend ends, so must their fake relationship.
As summer begins, Faire returns to Willow Creek, and April volunteers for the first time. When Mitch’s family shows up unexpectedly, April pretends to be Mitch’s girlfriend again…something that doesn’t feel so fake anymore. Despite their obvious connection, April insists they’ve just been putting on an act. But when there’s the chance for something real, she has to decide whether to change her plans–and open her heart–for the kilt-wearing hunk who might just be the love of her life.
Well Matched was interesting and heart-warming finale of Well Met trilogy that revolved around April and Mitch’s story. The story was about friendship, family, belongingness, commitment issue, transition to empty nest phase of life, and preconceptions.
Writing was as good as previous books, refreshing, engaging, and fast paced with first person narration from April POV. It was interesting to see Willow Creek and renaissance faire from April’s view who didn’t like the faire or small town.
Plot was interesting with fake dating, single mother and age gap arc. It Started with April finding a card her daughter had from her father, Robert, who didn’t want anything to do with Caitlin. Her marriage with him failed soon after she conceived. Now after 18 years he was writing to Caitlin to connect with her. April bought house in Willow Creek as investment when Cait was kid. She dreamed of selling it once Cait goes out for college in few months and move to city but to it needed improvement before she can put it on market.
Mitch had family get together on his grandparents’ anniversary. They were putting pressure on him for not getting settled yet and to make them shut it, he asked April to be his girlfriend for a night. April agreed to fake dating in excahnge she asked Mitch help her with house renovation.
As they spend more time with each other with pretence of being in relationship, their feelings for each other grows strong and it became impossible to pretend. It was interesting to see what would they do when their fake relationship becomes town’s gossip, if April was ready for commitment after almost two decades with stone hard wall she created around her heart to save it, and what she will do when her ex-husband shows up.
Unlike in Well Played here story was more focused on April and Mitch like it was in first book with Emily and Simon. Both April and Mitch were realistic and relatable. From what I read about April in previous books I expected to like her. I was surprised to find her little annoying and it was Mitch who charmed me and save the story. But I still enjoyed reading about them.
I loved April’s back story. We know more about what happened with her marriage and why she was single mother. After knowing about that I could empathize with her and I could see why she never had serious relationship after that, never let anyone in her life and heart. I could see how hard it can be for her to socialize being introvert and spending almost two decades alone with Caitlin without replying on anyone and with no social life. It was easy to see how hard for her to transition to empty nest phase of her life. I really admire her for putting her daughter first, holding back her life, living in small town even though she didn’t like it, patiently waiting for Cait to leave for college and start living her life in city. Her sacrifices were commendable. But I didn’t like her for avoiding her feelings for Mitch, labelling what they had ‘fake’ when it wasn’t after certain point and hurting the poor guy. Her commitment issue, fear of gossip, being under spotlight, and concern with age gap was genuine but still frustrating (Maybe because I’m officially Mitch fan now). I liked how she felt secure and safe with Mitch, came back to her senses and won Mitch’s heart.
Mitch was fantastic throughout the book. He was handsome, all muscled, always smiling gym teacher and coach of football team at Willow Creek school, and a decade younger than April. He wasn’t the smartest guy but he was total gentleman and amazing friend. It surprised me to see this big man who brought smile on everyone’s face, never been agitated also had vulnerability. I liked Malone family but I felt sad the way they treated Mitch. I loved how support from April made him feel worthy and important.
Romance was good. Chemistry wasn’t as strong as it was with Emily and Simon but it was better than with Stacey and Daniel. Conversation between them about their past and feelings was my favourite part. I loved the forced proximity and flirting through home renovation project arc. It wasn’t slow burn romance, spark, chemistry, attraction was there from the beginning but denial and fear of April kept things slow and often dragging. I still cheered for them to be together.
What I loved most was April standing up for Mitch against his family, their pretend relationship in public and specifically when her ex-husband showed up, April realising what’s it like to be part of faire, leaving her mundane life and have some fun and that she belonged in Willow Creek community.
Climax was interesting. I was expecting heart break and I didn’t like April for that but I loved how she realised her mistake and she made things right with Mitch. End was lovely.
Why 4 stars-
Like I said April was annoying. Her reasons for denial and refusing to accept her feelings for Mitch was getting repetitive and frustrating. Also it wasn’t as good as Well Met in all aspects but I’m glad it was better than Well Played.
Overall, Well Matched was interesting, fast paced, realistic, and lovely romance with relatable characters and life situations.
I recommend this if you like,
realistic and relatable characters
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