A librarian friend of mine is currently doing a postcard project where she sends out book recommendations via postcard to support the postal service and I recently received mine in the mail. I asked for some books that were similar to Red, White, and Royal Blue, the current book that keeps occupying a lot of space in my brain. One of those such books recommended to me was Well Met by Jen DeLuca. Here’s your warning: This post may contain spoilers!
Set in fictional Willow Creek, Maryland, Emily Parker comes to stay with her sister, April, to help her recover from a car accident and to take care of her fourteen-year-old niece, Caitlyn. But, of course, it can’t be that simple. Things are complicated by Caitlyn who wants to work for the local Renaissance Festival over the summer, but needs a parent volunteer to be there with her. Which is how Emily ends up volunteering to be a tavern wench for the summer.
Over the course of the rehearsal process (6 weeks) and the Faire itself (another 6 weeks), DeLuca tells a story of romance, friendship, and learning to be comfortable with who you are all within the classic enemies to lovers trope. It’s fantastic. The world she creates is full of really rich characters, such as Christine who owns the local bookstore and portrays Queen Elizabeth at the Faire on weekends, Mitch the high school gym teacher who does a lot of fight choreography throughout Faire in a kilt ( and who is definitely a bit of a Himbo), and Simon the English teacher who has another side to him as a pirate, who round this story out with intricate backstories of their own and often make me question whether Willow Creek exists.
Is the plot a little predictable? Yes. But, that doesn’t matter. DeLuca’s done a masterful job of making everything as believable as possible including the main conflict in Emily and Simon’s budding relationship. The story is one that feels familiar, but different at the same time and that’s not a bad thing. Her writing is whimsical, vivid, and fast-paced, which is makes it perfect to devour. (I definitely couldn’t. I read the whole thing in a day.) Overall, Well Met is a fantastic summer/late summer read and I can’t wait for the sequel.
Read It if:
- You ‘re missing summer and/or the Renn Faire
- You’re looking for a cute small town romance
Skip It If:
- You don’t like predictable stories
- You’re looking for something with a lot of emotional weight