By Jen DeLuca
I wanted to read a contemporary romance but was craving escapism, and found it in Jen DeLuca’s new novel, Well Met. A modern romance with corsets, sword fighting, and an uptight hero name Simon who doubles as a sexy pirate called Ian. Well Met takes place at a renaissance fair, and as someone who has not had the privilege to attend one, it was extremely entertaining to read about what goes into its production.
Emily moves in with her sister to help assist with her teenaged niece while her sister is recovering from an accident. Emily finds herself chaperoning her niece as she gets ready to spend her summer working at the local renaissance fair. During her time at the fair, Emily builds relationships with the people of the small town, including her fellow tavern wench, the local book store owner/Queen, the flirty gym teacher/kilted Scotsman, and the starchy English teacher/charming pirate who runs the show for the kids every year.
When Emily is “Emma” the tavern wench and Simon is “Ian” the pirate, their attraction is undeniable and their chemistry is felt throughout the fair. But Emily begins to realize that there is more between the two of them than the performance they are putting on.
“This means something. You mean something.”
I really liked this book because Emily was complex and not perfect. She was a college drop out and directionless before she moved to Willow Creek. It took her some self reflection to understand that she was worthy of love and the effort of putting down roots of her own. Seeing her character growth was super satisfying.
Simon was really likable too. He was lonely but dedicated to his job and the kids and the renaissance fair. He was loyal to his brother’s legacy and preserving things that were important to this family. These qualities were reflected in the way that he treated Emily, like a queen.
“My gaze flew up to his. And seriously, when did he get those flecks of green in his eyes? His bound hand tightened on mine a little, before he pulled me closer, his other hand coming up to cup my cheek. He barely touched my skin, but I repressed a shiver anyway. One eyebrow arched in a challenge as he bent toward me, daring me to deny him, to break character and not let him kiss me. Well, screw that. I made my eyes as limpid as I could while I gazed up at him, imagining how a tavern wench would feel bound to a pirate who looked like this. Pretty damn good I’d imagine. I put some extra flutter in my eye lashes as I let my eyes fall closed a moment before his mouth touched mine.”
Review by Michele W.