Title: Well Met
Author: Jen DeLuca
Series: Well Met #1
Published: Berkley (September 3, 2019)
Pages: 319 (Hardcover – BOTM Edition)
So I admittedly don’t read a lot of contemporary adult romances. So I can’t tell you how this compares to a lot of other recent publications. What I can tell you is that I had a blast reading this – and I was so excited to find out that there will be additional books in this series. Well Met is an enemies to lovers romance set at a Ren Faire. I mean, what more could you want?
“Emma the Tavern Wench was turned on by Captain Blackthorn, Pirate. This could be a problem.”
Emily relocates to the small town of Willow Creek for the summer to help out her sister April who is recovering from a car accident. While chauffeuring her niece Caitlin around, she gets roped into participating in the local Renaissance Faire. She takes on the alter ego of Emma, the tavern wench. And it just so happens that Emma and the pirate Ian Blackthorn have a thing. The catch? Outside of the Ren Faire, Ian Blackthorn is none other than Simon, high school English teacher and no-nonsense director of the Ren Faire, who doesn’t appreciate Emily’s nonchalant attitude about the Faire or her conspiracy theories about William Shakespeare.
“So, what, am I just supposed to pull an extra bard out of my ass now?”
“Not a bad idea. It might dislodge the stick that’s up there.”
We all know where this is going, but its the path it takes to get there that is so much fun. I loved the banter between these two, and the sincerity and vulnerability of some of their conversations. And, the steamy scenes? *chef’s kiss* But, this book is more than just an adorable romcom. There are discussions of abandonment in relationships and how that clouds out perception of ourselves and other people and the unrealistic expectations we put upon ourselves and how that effects our own happiness. But, its also about the way we work through grief and the idea that we need to actually tell people what we want rather than expecting them to just know.
I really loved the themes of friendship and family in this book. Emily finds herself in a town full of people she doesn’t know, but when she opens up and embraces the Faire, she realizes just how much she might like to call Willow Creek home. Emily’s relationships with her sister and niece are really well done too, and develop in a way that feels authentic. I really related to Emily’s sister: a single mom who spends all her time taking care of her kid, and very little time establishing friendships/relationships of her own. Can we please, please get an April centered sequel?! *fingers crossed*
“Let us love you, and remind you that you’re worth it until you figure out what you’re going to do next.”
Overall, I adored this book and these characters. It was everything I wanted from a steamy adult contemporary romance. And, I can’t wait to see what Jen DeLuca does next.
Trigger warnings: car accident (in the past), toxic relationship (in the past), death of a sibling (in the past), talk of loss of a loved one (non-hodgkin’s lymphoma), grief deception, depression depiction, and abandonment.