by Jen DeLuca
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.
Honestly, I’m not sure I have words to describe how much I adored Well Met. Emily is one of the most relatable heroines I’ve read this year. Her life plan crashed and burned and she ends up in Willow Creek taking care of her sister and niece after a car crash. Which turned out to be the best thing for her. When her niece needs a chaperone for the local Renaissance Faire, Emily gets pulled into the world of historical costumes and ends up a tavern wench. She initially butts heads with Simon, the organizer of the event but gets swept off her feet when he transforms into a rakish pirate. Emily is looking for direction in her life and she begins to find it in Willow Creek. But I especially enjoyed that her direction wasn’t just a guy. She begins to make a life for herself in the town and figures out a new path while falling for Simon, not because of Simon. Even though the book is from Emily’s point of view, Simon is equally crafted and fleshed out. The Faire was created by his decreased brother and he’s struggling to hold on to his brother’s memory while needing a push to find his own way. The chemistry between him and Emily is scorching but once they give into it, it isn’t just a moment of passion but a relationship.
I personally love Renaissance Faires and the setting of Well Met was so vivid and perfect. The supporting characters were all interesting and well-developed. I adored the history of the faire intersecting with modern life. This was a sweet, funny, and at times, poignant book.