Well Met by Jen DeLuca
Published: September 3rd, 2019
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.
This is your typical enemies to lovers / grumpy x sunshine trope. I think enemies to lovers is one of my favorite romance tropes out there, but I have to say, this one didn’t really do it for me…in the way I was expecting. Well Met was a really enjoyable book about a small town romance but also an amazing book about sisterhood, community, and how family and some friendships can matter more than what you think they mean.
The family dynamic in this book was unconventional and really well set up. Emily is taking care of her niece for the summer because her sister was in a car accident and can’t walk. So Emily is making sure her teenage niece’s dreams of being in the Renn Faire come true. Throughout the book you see Emily’s relationship with her sister grow to the point where Emily gets comfortable asking really tough questions even though through the years they never felt comfortable enough with each other to talk about stuff. I loved this, it really put Emily’s family story and relationships in the forefront at times, and it was really important to her development through the book.
The side characters MADE this book for me, it made me want to read the following books ( Well Matched, Well Played, and Well Traveled) I loved the way everyone came around Emily and really helped her through almost everything in this book. From Stacey helping her with the ropes of Faire, Chris helping her with a job while she’s in town. It was all a really big community centric town that really came together to help her, and making these lasting connections, it was a really wonderful aspect to the book.
I had some issues in terms of character conflicts. Emily didn’t really have much holding her back other than the fact that her and her ex broke up, she didn’t feel adequate enough and that’s caused some issues. But Simon…geez. His conflict was so much more complex. Moving on from the grief of losing a brother. The story behind his final times, it really made me sympathize with him for what a big loss and like what big shoes he felt like he had to fill, and the weight of keeping the faire alive, it was a lot to take in. It did make me feel like Simon was a more complex character vs. Emily and it made me enjoy him more as a MC. But that’s not to say that I didn’t enjoy Emily. I really enjoyed her growth into the faire scene and her want to be a part of all of these communities within not only faire, but outside of it.
I’ve never been to a Renn Faire but this made me want to go. I really enjoyed the back and forth into Faire life and regular life. it really pushed the fact about how Simon really immerses himself in it and loses his grip on reality, and how some folks can teeter on that line without losing their real life selves to faire life.
Even though this was a bit slow on the romance, and the platonic relationships in my opinion was better than the romance. This was still SUCH a great read. I plan on reading the next books sometime soon, and would GLADLY fall back into Willow Creek and the wonderful people there.
Rating: 4.25/5 Stars