Well Met, Book 1
Heat Factor: Heroes in illustrated cover romances love going down on women
Character Chemistry: Swashbuckling pirates and wenches unite!
Plot: Get over your overdeveloped sense of responsibility and show me I’m important
Overall: Ren Faire Romance = True Love
If, like Holly and me, you and your friends have ever in your lives been really into the Renaissance Faire, read this book. Bam. Done.
If not, I don’t know if this book will be quite as delightful for you. But also, please dress up and go to the Renaissance Faire right now. Or when it opens again in the summer. Costumes and slightly off British accents absolutely required. (My accent was obviously perfect. Ahem.) Giant turkey leg optional.
When Holly told me that this book was for High School us and I realized why, I had to have it. It’s about a Renaissance Faire in Maryland. In reality it’s about more than that, but DeLuca had me hooked with just that much. You see, Maryland has one of the largest Renaissance Festivals in the country. We dressed up to go to the Ren Fest for years. My husband and I were there on a date when our freshman English teacher saw us and teased us a little bit. I used to work with guys who were friends with folks who staffed the Ren Fest (including one who made the costumes!). It’s a whole thing. You can understand why a book about a bunch of people who find community while staffing a Renaissance Faire would be appealing to me.
In this case, the Faire is a school fundraiser (not, alas, the actual Maryland Renaissance Festival) that became more and more elaborate until it took over the weekends of whole summers for the cast. The coordinator is the high school English teacher, Simon Graham, who takes his responsibility way too seriously because he’s trying to uphold his dead brother’s legacy.
Because she’s taking care of her sister and niece after her sister’s leg was crushed in a car crash, and because she really has no reason not to, Emily Parker has to sign up to be a Faire cast member so her niece can participate (under 16 requires adult consent and supervision apparently). When she meets the sexy gym teacher who promises to wear a kilt (and not much else) in his role of the cast, she decides it’s not such a hardship to join the cast. That is, it’s not a hardship until she meets Simon and realizes he’s in charge of everything.
That’s right, folks! We have a hate to love trope for your delectation! DeLuca executes this one pretty well, considering it involves Simon and Emily getting to know each other in association with all of Simon’s younger brother sibling issues.
Simon in character is a swashbuckling charmer, and that’s exactly what Emily is – charmed – when they cross paths on Faire weekends. As they muddle along, antagonism morphs into acquaintanceship transforms into friendship segues into sex. It was sweet and satisfying. But a fully mature relationship where people work through tough relationship issues is generally a no-go in a romance novel, so of course sweet and satisfying isn’t the end of the story. In this, I appreciated that DeLuca had Simon and Emily hash out the conflict. So often, authors prefer to have characters make assumptions and fail to verbalize what’s actually wrong in order to get to that ultimate conflict, and it typically enrages me. Of course, the problem with creating a seemingly insurmountable conflict that has previously been discussed is that the resolution is much harder to make believable. Or suddenly what is an insurmountable conflict is resolved and BAM → HEA. In this case, I’d say DeLuca didn’t fall into either trap, so cue the warm fuzzies!
This Ren Faire love story was the romance I never knew I needed, and I’m so glad DeLuca thought to write it for me (and you!).
Buy Now: Amazon
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2 thoughts on “Review: Well Met by Jen DeLuca (2019)”
I’m super excited to get to this. My boyfriend and I have talked about getting married at a Ren Faire!
How fun! I definitely recommend then – it’s pretty light and fun, and there’s a handfast plot thread for funsies.