Author: Jen DeLuca Series: Well Met #1 Genre: Romance Release Date: September 3, 2019 Book Length: 336 pages Publisher: Berkley Review: 3/5
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 thought it had a very unique setting that centered around the two love interests meeting at something called Faire—the small town’s Renaissance Fair that they put together every summer. I loved reading about Faire; I thought it was really exciting and different! I wish I could find one near me so I could go to it. The small town vibe and how Emily grew closer with not only the townsfolk but also with her sister during the course of the book was great to read about too. I loved all of the supporting characters and the witty banter they’d sometimes have with one another made me laugh.
However, I did feel like the romance was too surface-level as the two main love interests barely talked about anything except Faire! For me, it wasn’t enough to build an attachment to either of the characters or root for them to be together. There were also many misunderstandings and miscommunications in the book, and sometimes I felt a bit frustrated by them because they were so silly and immature!
I think that if this book dug a little deeper than surface-level attraction and had a little more tension, I would have liked it more. Sometimes I felt like it read like a YA, and other times I felt it read like new adult and it was a little bit confusing to me. I have never been a girl into Hallmark movies, and this felt like a book-equivalent of one – it was cheesy and predictable. Despite all of that, it still was fun to read. Not my favourite romance ever, but still good enough to get 3 stars from me.