I have never been a huge fan of renaissance fairies. In theory they sound wonderful for my historical fiction loving self. Old timey costumes, some vague medieval setting, josts and turkey legs and historic looking jewelry all sound great. I spent so much of my life doing theatre and reading Shakespeare that I want to love a good Ren Fest. I really do.
But I don’t love crowds, or dust clouds and dirt. I don’t like dressing up in costumes and paying an arm and a leg to walk around what is essentially a faire ground playing at time travel.
So I wasn’t sure what I was getting myself into when I started Well Met. Jen DeLuca’s lovely romance is set in a small town in Maryland famous for their local Renaissance Faire. Emily is in town to help her sister incapacitated sister and teenage niece. It helps that she needed to leave Boston anyway after a bad break up. When her niece decides she wants to be a part of this year’s Ren Faire Emily steps up to chaperone and finds that maybe small town life isn’t so bad, and that the neurotic faire runner, Simon, may be more fun than he looks.
I adored everything about this book. I couldn’t put it down. Like had it on multiple devices and was reading it as my boyfriend drove me to and from eye appointments. The plot isn’t exactly unique. Girl meets boy. Girl thinks boy is a bit of an uptight asshole. Girl falls for boy…while he is wearing a pirate costume…but DeLuca creates a beautiful town in Willow Creek, Maryland and inhabits it with vibrant people of all walks of life. That is the beauty of Willow Creek’s Faire – everybody participates in some way.
It also helps that Emily is a relatable twenty something out of a bad relationship. She is working at finding her confidence and trying to find her niche. Simon is a bit up tight but has *Tragic Backstory Syndrome* and is also a very well versed English teacher. Plus the “I hate you but maybe I just want to bang you” mood is REAL. Really, all of my favorite tropes are here in a very real feeling world ready for tears and superman speed reading.
On top of everything Well Met is a very cute, very satisfying read. There is real character growth for both our main duo and supporting characters. There is enough research into Faire life to make it feel real. There is handfasting and taverns and stage combat. Really, just take my word for it and go read Well Met.