Well Met by Jen DeLuca

by - February 17, 2020

Well Met by Jen DeLuca (2019)

Well Met is a contemporary adult hate to love romance that features an English teacher and an English major drop-out against the backdrop of a summer Renaissance Fair. I rated it 5/5 stars.

What is Well Met about?

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

Its tropes include

  • Small town romance
  • The Power of Friendship and Family
  • Sexy conversations about Shakespeare
  • Shut Up and Kiss Me
  • Oh No He's (a) Hot (Pirate)!
  • This Bodice Is Too Tight; I'm Swooning (Literally)
  • Fake Dating (Except It's Real, Duh)

The characters

The characters, hands down, the characters. Simon is your usual broody, stick-up-his-ass, dark hottie that has to change himself before they get their HEA. Emily is just the sweetest, kindest, most loving woman on Earth who is so used to being taken advantage of that she has to learn to prioritize herself as well.

I appreciated how well-fleshed out they were. They were ordinary people, sure, but with the complexity of their backstories and emotions I could fully understand why they did what they did... even if it made me want to throttle them. Believable characters always bring a romance to life!

The romance

OMG Where do I start?? This romance had everything: witty banter, shameless flirting over Shakespeare, angst (I Gotta Go My Own Way), sexual tension off the charts (she thinks he hates her but that is faaar from the truth), historical roleplaying, bodice-ripping (well, unlacing), sharing of personal trauma, and character development.

Simon and Emily work so well because they're actually quite similar in the ways that matter. They're both younger siblings who are so used to being overshadowed by their elder siblings. They both try so hard and yet struggle to match their own ideas of success. They both keep prioritizing other people, to the detriment of their own lives. Their romance works because it forces them to look at themselves and become better people.

Emily learns to love herself and accept that success comes in different shapes. Simon learns to rely on other people and stop trying to be something he isn't.

The side characters

The side characters also go through their own growth and have their own depth. You have this hot meathead who turns out to be... not a meathead; a judgmental older sister who learns to loosen up and embrace the world around her a little; and a small town girl who seems shallow but really has a large heart. I'm not usually a fan of small town novels (unless it's a crime novel) but this one felt so homey! 

I'm literally so excited for the sequel even if it's about other characters. That does not usually happen to me.

Also, let me say: I listened to this as an audiobook and devoured it in 2 days. I had a really terrible time at work and it was the only thing stopping me from blowing up lol. I was grinning like an idiot at work but I didn't care. This novel made me laugh out loud at random moments and made me gasp and I WAS SO INVESTED, YOU WOULDN'T BELIEVE.

That's how enjoyable it is!

If there are any negatives to this book, I've honestly forgotten them all. Read this if you want to have a great time, want to get your heart squeezed full, and want to swoon over sexy Literary pirates and fierce but kind wenches.

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