All’s faire in love and war
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.
I didn’t choose to wench life – the wench life chose me.
Renaissance Faires really aren’t a thing in Australia. Instead, we have what they call a “medieval fair” which is basically a no-frills version that honestly, couldn’t hope to hold a candle to the real deal. I know – talk about a missed opportunity.
I think that’s why I was so drawn to Jen DeLuca’s swoony Rom-Com debut. To me, the whole premise of an enemies-to-lovers affair in-character at a Renaissance Faire was the epitome of cool. The tip of the ice berg if you will. I mean, we’re talking the whole medieval ambiance here with jousts, merchants, lively taverns and of course, turkey legs.
Basically, Well Met made me want to pack my bags and run away to Maryland to join the Renaissance Faire.
Seriously. Why aren’t Renaissance Faires a thing? Who do I need to sell my soul to in order to make this happen???
Well Met isn’t your average Rom-Com. Okay, yes it’s sinfully addictive and more than a little steamy but Well Met has substance and layers. Underneath the romance aspect, Emily is very much a young woman struggling with trust issues, hot off the heels of an abusive relationship. It’s a charmingly wholesome story about home, family and finding your feet. Also, kudos to Jen DeLuca because Well Met is very much a story about women helping other women which is something we don’t see a lot of.
Speaking of women helping women, I have to talk about the setting. Well Met takes place in the sleepy small town of Willows Creek, Maryland. It’s the perfect place for Emily to lick her wounds and get her shit together. The town has this amazing sense of community. The characters inhabiting Willows Creek work to serve not only the plot but Emily herself. I loved watching her wings spreed as she forged a home and made a life for herself.
And obviously we have to talk about said Ren Faire – I mean, how could we not? The plot, the romance, the conflict, everything stems from the Faire. The Faire in question takes place in the forest where the entire community of Willows Creek rally together to take patrons back to the reign of Queen Elizabeth. Jen DeLuca pulled from her own experiences with the Lady of the Lakes Renaissance Faire which gives Well Met such an authentic atmosphere. She perfectly captures the excitement of Faire but also the amount of hard work and dedication that goes into pulling it off.
Then we have our classic enemies-to-lovers; Simon and Emily. All I’m saying is that these two could [almost] give The Hating Game a run for its money. I am a sucker for the enemies-to-lovers trope and I was not disappointed. Emily and Simon downright detested each other but their Faire counterparts; Captain Blackthorne and Emma, were kind of thrown together. In true Rom Com fashion, a delicious in-character flirtation ensures which gets more than a little out of hand. *cackles*.
Overall, wholesome and charming are the prefect words to describe Jen DeLuca’s Rom Com debut. Well Met kind of has that Hallmark Channel vibe but in the best possible way. I was left in a melted puddle of goo with a dorky grin and a burning need for the sequel; Well Played. I cannot recommend this book enough – perfect for Singles Awareness Month [aka Valentines Day].