I received this book for free from Berkley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Well Met by Jen DeLuca
Published by Berkley on September 3rd, 2019
Genres: Adult, Romance
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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.
All I heard was enemies to lovers and Well Met immediately had my attention. I dove in expecting some good banter and cuteness and I definitely got a LOT of cuteness. So, Well Met is truly a bundle of softness and cuteness but I also felt like the plot itself wasn’t always gripping?? No I wasn’t expecting an adventure or murder mystery amidst its pages but I felt like even with the plot revolving around the Renaissance Faire, there wasn’t any amount of urgency or tension in that regard. It sort of just felt like we were gently floating through the happenings of the Faire and everything that came with setting it up and running it through.
The romance itself was adorable but I also felt that it was also missing something?? Well Met is pitched to us as an enemies to lovers so I really really wanted banter but there wasn’t really that much of that? Their dislike of each other doesn’t even seem that well founded and I barely read it as a dislike because it was clear they were lusting after each other. Also, Simon was just mean sometimes and that threw me off a little.
As I got to know the characters better, I warmed up to them and once the Faire was under way and the romance in full swing, I couldn’t help but ship them. Emily stressed me out sometimes with how much she’d take on just to feel wanted/needed but I am glad she got a good character arc that ended with her acknowledging those issues and finding a way to value herself and her time. Once Simon’s backstory was revealed (a sob story), I couldn’t help but like him because that’s WHO I AM. He also had a good character arc that unpacked his issues and let him deal with them in a healthy manner.
Here is the thing about Well Met, I think due to just a general lack of plot tension, it is slow going and I sometimes drifted in and out of the Faire semantics stuff, but once you hit that 50% mark, the slow going doesn’t seem as bad because the romance is a bundle of softness and adorableness. You sort of just end up becoming lost in it and want to absorb the rays of sunshine jumping out of this book. Well Met is the PERFECT summer time read (even if it isn’t technically summer anymore…) The characters, primary and secondary, truly do make this book worth reading and I do hope we get to come back to this world and see a couple more peeps get their happy endings.
3.5 Hot Espressos