Saturday, August 24, 2019

Review: Well Met by Jen DeLuca

Well Met by Jen DeLuca
Publisher: Berkley
Genre: Contemporary Romance
ISBN: 9781984805386
Release Date: September 3, 2019
Source: Publisher
Buy it here: Amazon | B&N | Kobo | Audible

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 is bright, charming, and oh-so much fun! I adore Renaissance Faires and have a lot of respect for the time and effort the actors, entertainers, vendors, and volunteers put into these events so I couldn’t resist picking up this book, hoping for a lighthearted romance with a dash of faire flavor. Author Jen DeLuca more than delivered. The cast of characters was so endearing, the faire so fun, and the enemies-to-lovers romance between Emily and Simon so entertaining that I practically devoured this book.

The life Emily Parker had planned out just crashed down around her when her sister was in a bad car accident and needed help. Even though they’re not particularly close, Emily doesn’t hesitate to pack up her things and head for the small town of Willow Creek, Maryland. And when her teenage niece wants to take part in the local Ren Faire, Emily volunteers to work as a tavern wench. It’s the kind of person Emily is – kind and always ready to dive in and help. Emily isn’t perfect, but I liked her big heart, organizational skills, and vision. She’s also someone yearning to put down roots and the town of Willow Creek and the faire cast are just what she needs. I loved watching Emily get into the spirit of the faire and to become attached to the town and its delightful residents.

The one person Emily doesn’t hit it off with right away? Simon Graham, the brooding English teacher in charge of the entire faire. Unlike everyone else in Willow Creek, Simon is incredibly straight-laced and serious. But when he gets to the faire, Simon transforms into a flirtatious, sexy pirate who dazzles. I enjoyed both the stuffy and the roguish parts of Simon and, like Emily, I wanted to see the two come together. It’s clear to see why Simon and Emily clash at the beginning. And Simon definitely is a jerk to her to start with, but Ms. DeLuca makes it clear why he is the way he is (for reasons I won’t spoil). I was yearning to see Emily muss him up some and when they were in faire mode, the two of them shone. Their banter was flirty and fun and I cannot count the number of times they made me smile. But I loved watching them come together outside their roles even more, their romance entwining with their individual character growth. Their course of true love doesn’t run smooth in Well Met, but every bump on the road to happily ever after is worth it.

A cast of caring, welcoming secondary characters bring the town of Willow Creek to life and made me wish I could live there. The lovely romance, sparkling banter, and lively background all made Well Met the perfect pick-me-up when I really needed it. I adored Emily and Simon’s story and I cannot wait to read more of Ms. DeLuca’s books.

FTC Disclosure: I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.