Title: Well Met
Author: Jen DeLuca
Publisher: Berkley Books
Release Date: September 3,2019
Genres: Adult, Romance, Contemporary
Source: Purchased/Book of the Month Club
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.
Well, it seems like I am the black sheep when it comes to Well Met by Jen DeLuca, so please don’t throw tomatoes at me. I wanted to love this book so much. I mean the novel has two of my favorite things in the world: a Renaissance Faire and the “enemies-to-lovers” trope. Do not get me wrong, the book was well written and I enjoyed the pacing, but overall, I think this book was less funny and too serious and dramatic for my taste, especially for a rom-com.
First, (*ducks behind a wall*) I was not a huge fan of the relationship that develops between Simon and Emily. Both characters are going through a lot of major life changes. As an introvert and a lover of books, I related to Emily more. But as the novel progressed, there was barely any character development for either one of the characters. Yes, after they let drama overtake their lives and choices, they both see the error of their ways, but in the end, I never felt a lasting connection to make me adore them as individuals or as a couple.
In regards to the romance portion of Well Met, I never felt passion and strong chemistry between Simon and Emily, except when they were in character for the Renaissance Faire. They seemed so distant and grumpy towards each other throughout a majority of the book. Their relationship never had that slow-burn, fiery angst that makes your heart ache and keeps you on the edge of your seat. Instead, their feud never made me want to lock them in a room and shout, “kiss already.” And when they start “liking” each other, it just felt so forced and flat.
Additionally, I am obsessed with Renaissance Faires and Festivals, so that setting basically won the book for me. I go to a local Renaissance Festival every year, and it is always such a blast. I really enjoyed that Well Met included that Renaissance Faire flair throughout the book. It was interesting to see the development of the faire and the characters fulfilling their roles and staying in character. I highly enjoyed reading the passages of Simon as a pirate flirting with Emily. Those parts of the story made the characters more enjoyable to read and root for.
Overall, Well Met is a cute romance book, but I think I over-hyped it up for myself, because I love Renaissance Faires and enemies-to-lovers stories. But in the end, for me, this novel did not live up to that hype.