Keeping Up With The Penguins

Reviews For The Would-Be Booklover

Well Met – Jen DeLuca

“All is faire in love and war.” That’s the slogan of Well Met, an enemies-to-lovers romance novel that takes place in the unlikely setting of a small-town Renaissance Faire. I’m a sucker for a kooky premise like that, so of course, I had to read it.

Well Met - Jen DeLuca - Keeping Up With The Penguins
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The heroine, Emily, is in her mid-20s and coming off the back of a rotten break-up. She moves to Willow Creek, a (fictional) small town in Maryland, to help her sister and niece recuperate after a serious car crash. Emily finds herself roped into volunteering at the local Renaissance Faire, an annual fundraiser (for what exactly is never specified). So far, so good.

The love interest is Simon, a bloke with a stick up his arse if there ever was one. He runs the Renaissance Faire to honour his older brother, who passed away a few years prior to the beginning of Well Met. He doesn’t take kindly to Emily’s bemused attitude to all things Faire-y, and they “clash” a few times in rehearsals (though, I must say, it doesn’t amount to much more than a few loaded comments and glares).

I’ve got to say, I don’t know anything about Renaissance Faires. I can’t recall ever having seen one here in Australia – I think they’re an American thing. The preparations they undergo in Well Met seem a lot more thorough than I would have expected, far beyond putting on a costume and throwing a few “ye”s and “thou”s into conversation. I suspect DeLuca might’ve taken some creative license, giving Emily and Simon more time in the pressure cooker so that their enemies-to-lovers angle really popped – but I could be wrong.

Once the Faire begins, Emily and Simon begin flirting – under the guise of their Faire characters, a tavern wench and a pirate. Before long, the flirtation starts to feel real, and Emily starts to wonder whether she and Simon could make a go of it in the present.

Well Met is very easy to read. Emily’s sunny nature makes for delightful narration (without ever becoming grating), and the plot is perfectly paced. Sure, the characters get a bit Extra at points, but it’s a romance novel. That’s expected.

Now, if you know anything about me, you know I like my romances “spicy” (as the kids say these days). I’m pleased to report there are some good sexy bits in Well Met, in a couple of chapters. Of course, I would’ve liked to see more – but I always want to see more, so you can’t set much store by that.

I appreciated that, while Emily and Simon’s romance is the driving force behind the plot, there are a lot of other fascinating characters and non-romantic relationships at play. There’s Chris, the bookstore owner who hires Emily, and plays the Queen at the Faire in her spare time. There’s Stacey, a fellow tavern wench who seems a bit vacant but very supportive. There’s Mitch, the uber-sexy phys-ed teacher who plays the kilted Scotsman of the Faire. And, most importantly, there’s April and Caitlin, Emily’s sister and niece respectively; their family relationships haven’t always been perfect, but there’s a nice little arc that sees them closer by the end of Well Met.

With this strong supporting cast, DeLuca did an excellent job at leaving doors open for future books in the Well Met series, without being too heavy-handed about it, or leaving threads dangling. Since it was published in 2019, it’s been followed-up by Well Played (2020), Well Matched (2021), and Well Traveled (2022). I’ll definitely be seeking those out – DeLuca has won herself a fan! In the mean-time, I highly recommend this fun feel-good summer romance.

My favourite Amazon reviews of Well Met:

  • “Perfect woman meets man consumed by his brothers death and she fixes everything, saved you the trouble.” – Jlo
  • “If these two had super powers it’d be jumping to conclusions in 0.2 seconds.” – TechieArtMama
  • “I was enjoying this book until the main character crippled herself with doubt making a molehill out of an ant, or whatever the heck that saying is.” – Swendog Millionaire


  1. Ah, yes. The superpower of jumping to conclusions crucial for every romantic lead in a romance novel. 🤣 Kidding aside, this sounds like a fun summer read. I’ll have to keep an eye out for it.

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