Published by Berkley on September 3, 2019
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All's faire in love and war for two sworn enemies who indulge in a harmless flirtation in a laugh-out-loud rom-com from debut author, Jen DeLuca.
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.
“The other greeting we’ll be using a lot at Faire is ‘well met,’ which can be a simple ‘nice to meet you,’ but it can also mean you’re particularly pleased to see that particular person at that particular time.”
I don’t think anyone will be surprised to learn I’m an absolute dork for Ren Faires. How it took me so long to get around to this book, I will never know because weekend wenches and pirates (and men in kilts) give me LIFE.
This rom com starts out with a dose of real life. Emily only finds herself in this small town because her sister was in a terrible accident, and she and her teenage daughter need help while she recovers. Emily to the rescue…and also Emily with the convenient escape from her own problems back home. It’s a familiar circumstance to Simon, who a few years earlier moved back to his hometown to help with a sick brother. The two meet in a hot auditorium (where all the classic romances start, right?) and instantly butt heads over a Renaissance Faire sign-up sheet. Weeks of animosity turn to lust when they both don their costumes.
If you’re looking for a fun weekend read, this is your book!
*****Well Played by Jen DeLuca
Published by Berkley on September 22, 2020
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Stacey is jolted when her friends Simon and Emily get engaged. She knew she was putting her life on hold when she stayed in Willow Creek to care for her sick mother, but it's been years now, and even though Stacey loves spending her summers pouring drinks and flirting with patrons at the local Renaissance Faire, she wants more out of life. Stacey vows to have her life figured out by the time her friends get hitched at Faire next summer. Maybe she'll even find The One.
When Stacey imagined "The One," it never occurred to her that her summertime Faire fling, Dex MacLean, might fit the bill. While Dex is easy on the eyes onstage with his band The Dueling Kilts, Stacey has never felt an emotional connection with him. So when she receives a tender email from the typically monosyllabic hunk, she's not sure what to make of it.
Faire returns to Willow Creek, and Stacey comes face-to-face with the man with whom she’s exchanged hundreds of online messages over the past nine months. To Stacey's shock, it isn't Dex—she's been falling in love with a man she barely knows.
Another laugh-out-loud romantic comedy featuring kilted musicians, Renaissance Faire tavern wenches, and an unlikely love story.
In book two, we follow along Stacey’s journey to break out of her humdrum life into one that fills her with passion of all kinds (insert eyebrow waggle here ).
“I needed to get my head on straight. Stop living my life online. Of course, the problem was my online life was much more exciting than my real one. I needed to do something about that.”
Like Emily, our heroine in Well Met, Stacey is kept in this small town because of a sick loved one; she put her dreams on hold to care for her mother, but after a few years her mom doesn’t need help any more and Stacey is just stuck. After a drunken message to an old flame, Stacey finds something that’s fun again and has her itching for change. As we follow along their ever-deepening emails and texts, Stacey gets her opportunity for a new life…but not with who she thinks she’s texting.
Well Played is an easy and fluffy romp, and Well Matched (book three in this series, due out next year) stars some of my favorite side characters – so I’ll be sure to visit Willow Creek again in the future.