Summary (from the publisher): 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.
My Rating: 5/5 Stars
Well Met had been on my TBR for forever and a half. Almost all of my blogging friends have loved this contemporary romance about a woman who finds herself wrapped up in small town life and its annual summer-long Renaissance Fair. I always wanted to pick up Well Met, so I don’t know what prevented me from picking it up before this May.. okay, maybe blame it on my irrational fear of running out of contemporary romances on my TBR. I finally bought my own copy back in March and after officially finishing all of my undergrad work, I treated myself and started reading! I ate up Well Met over one weekend and it quickly became of my favorite reads of 2020!
As soon as I began the first chapter of Well Met, I fell in love. After a bad breakup and needing to help her older sister after a bad car accident, Emily is in Willow Creek for the summer, which means volunteering with her niece to participate in the town’s Renn Faire. Emily finds herself enjoying the experience way more than expected… that is except for Simon, the fair’s organizer who seems to perpetually have a clipboard up his butt. But when Emily and Simon are in their faire chracters, Emily a tavern wench and Simon a pirate, their flirting game is on and blending the lines in their relationships as enemies vs. something more.
I personally fell in love with Simon because he gave me major Ben Wyatt vibes (aka my fictional boyfriend/husband from Parks & Recreation), thanks to his appearance, organization and adorable nerdiness. While Emily is our main focus, we learn why it’s so hard for Simon to break out of his hard demeanor and why the faire means so much to him. I liked how we’re able to get to know him without having his perspective, since I liked Emily’s first person narrative so much.
Well Met is such a fantastically nerdy read, between Simon’s love for Shakespare and day job as a high school English teacher, Emily’s own love for all things books and Shakespeare, and the bookstore where she works! I swear, give me any book with a bookstore and I’m in love. But back to Simon and Emily, I really enjoyed their relationship. It definitely took some time for them to warm up to one another, and I think it was very unique in that their feelings for each other grew through their performances. The epilogue was fantastic and everything I wanted for them.
However, while their relationship is a the heart of Well Met, the book is also about Emily’s self-growth. After being in a relationship in which Emily gave all of herself into with nothing in return, Emily is taking the summer to try to figure out her next steps and what she wants to do with this new stage in life. Emily does go to Willow Creek to help her older sister, April, after she’s been in a bad car accident. Because of their 10+ year age difference, Emily and April aren’t too close, but their relationship really blossoms over the course of the book. April encourages Emily to try some new things in her life, while Emily tries to get April to open up more to the town. I also loved Emily’s relationship with her female friends, like Stacey and Chris. The owner of the town bookstore and Queen of the Renn Faire, Chris serves as Emily’s mentor as she teaches Emily the ins and out of bookstore and small town life. I also want Emily to make me a latte from the bookstore’s café ASAP.
Since I keep mentioning it, I think it’s time to move into Well Met’s main setting: the Renaissance Faire! I’ve personally never been to a Ren Faire but Jen DeLuca makes her readers feel like they are there with the characters. There’s jousts, human chess matches, taverns, ceremonies, and more. The faire scenes were super descriptive – I especially enjoyed the details about Emily’s outfits. It was really important for Emily, or Emma (her faire alter ego), to stay in character throughout, which led her and Caitlin into watching a lot of Harry Potter to perfect their British accents! I’ve never seen this setting done before, and I thought it brought out the characters’ personalities in such a fresh way.
Overall, Well Met had the perfect blend of self-discovery, personal growth, family, friendship, and love, not to mention a very unique and well-executed setting and plot. Jen DeLuca has two more books set in the Well Met universe, with Well Played coming out in Fall 2020!
Have you read Well Met? Is Well Played on your TBR? Share in the comments!