Well Met is Well Done!
My review of Well Met, by Jen DeLuca (Berkley, 9/2019).
While I’m not normally a reader of Contemporary RomCom, the lure of the Renaissance Faire background for Jen DeLuca’s Well Met was just too strong to pass up. I vend at RenFaires to sell my own (fantasy) books, so I was eager to see what she did with this setting, and I wasn’t disappointed.
I was hooked from the opening lines. The characterizations are deftly done, the backstory is believable, and the setting is simply outstanding. Ms. DeLuca brings her own experience as a RenFaire pub wench to life here. Her descriptions of the faire and participants is spot on. But that’s just icing on a lovely, swoony cake.
The enemies-to-lovers-to-enemies-to-lovers arc for Emily and Simon is as well choreographed as any joust sequence. I knew what was coming, but that didn’t stop me rooting for the characters, or yelling at them to get over themselves and play nice. The secondary characters are also well fleshed out, and given reason for being beyond simply window dressing. The small-town feel, where everybody knows everybody else’s business, was perfect. There are so many feels, and laughs, and even tears (my wife kept asking if I was okay as I happy-sniffled my way through the last fifty pages of the story).
Well Met is an outstanding debut. I have to admit that I grade harder on a book’s actual writing because I’m a writer myself, and Ms. DeLuca’s style, phrasing, and pacing are terrific throughout the book. Well Met is Very. Well. Done.