One of the Best Romance Novels of the Year | Review: Well Met by Jen DeLuca

6:15 PM

Well Met definitely had me feeling the warm and fuzzies. Also, a desire to dress up. Anybody up for a quick trip to the Renaissance Faire?  


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 Met by Jen DeLuca 
Rating: ★★★★☆ (4.5)

As always, a copy of this book was provided by the publisher or author in exchange for my honest review. This does not effect my opinion in any way.

Oh my gosh, this was SUCH a fun novel and definitely in my top ten romance publications this year. Well Met was a blast from start to finish, and if you love a good enemies-to-lovers romance this is definitely for you. This is the first time I've ever experienced a fictional Renaissance Faire and oh, oh, oh, did I adore it. I don't toss that word around, but! I think this might be the fastest I've finished a romance novel this year because I could NOT put it down. At. All.

Well Met had this quality to it that was light and breezy, and a little quirky. I don't normally use quirky to describe things but in the case of this book? I cannot think of a better description than quirky. Okay, okay, so reading this, in a small-town, felt like an experience in its own right. It was something that warmed you from the tips of your fingers and something about it felt right.

When I think of small-towns and their festivals, it's easy to get a clear picture. Not just because I am constantly conjuring up snapshots of Stars Hollow ala Gilmore Girls, but because I grew up in an area that took their festivals and events and fairs VERY SERIOUSLY. So, it's easy for me to just picture these characters and the settings and the bonds and that feeling of community. You can't always write that kind of a connection in a genuine way, but DeLuca conveys the generals of it all beautifully and I cannot stress that enough.

That being said--there's a part of me that has always wanted to go to a Faire and now I'm all the more keen on it. Especially if it means stumbling upon characters like, ahem, Captain Blackthorne. Who DEFINITELY serves up some Hook in Once Upon a Time vibes and I'm SO here for it.

Let me rewind a bit, and tell you some basics about the two main characters:

Emily, who becomes Emma (a tavern wench) for the Faire. Emily COULD fall into the trap of being a typical city-girl-who-is-now-in-a-small-town trope, but doesn't. I loved her! She is just one of those characters that I felt connected to straight away and that's so, so, SO important. I loved how she was so warm and loyal towards her family.

Next up there's Simon (!!! aka your next fictional crush), who transforms into a colourful, highly attractive pirate, Captain Ian Blackthorne, for the Faire. He takes it very seriously and helps run the Faire. There's a family connection to the Faire that definitely contributes to his seriousness about it. Simon is a teacher who is very much so perceived as uptight (and, honestly, is, but with good reason) in his day to day life.

When Emily and Simon are, well, Emily and Simon, things aren't always warm and fuzzy. They've chemistry, though, that is apparent from the get-go and between the bantering, dressing up, and an abundance of sexual tension, as Emma and Blackthorne, and Emily and Simon, and it makes the scene all the more fun. Together, they begin to unravel bits and pieces of who they are, and to be honest with you everything about these two is SO fantastic.

If you're looking for a good romance that utilizes fantastic characters and the smalltown setting, I can't praise Jen DeLuca's Well Met high enough. I have a feeling this will be a book I will be rereading again in the near future because it was so fun. Well Met is a definite source for the warm and fuzzies.

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