Contemporary romantic novels set at Ren Faires? Okay…I’ll bite. Knowing there were already two books in this world, I waited until I had both to dive in, and unfortunately, one really drew me in more than the other, but if you like contemporary rom-com style books, you’ll enjoy Well Met and Well Played by Jen DeLuca.
In Well Met, Emily moves to a small town to help her sister, who was in a car crash and can’t move about much, take care of her teen daughter. “Taking care” includes, Emily finds out, volunteering for the local Renaissance Faire with the teen. There’s rehearsals, history lessons, fight calls, costume fittings, and then a whole summer of weekends in the woods playing dress-up and going back in time. But there’s a wrinkle: the kind of crabby teacher, Simon, who’s in charge of the Faire, carrying on his brother’s legacy. He’s not so fun and games, until he begins to play a pirate at the Faire, and Emily learns there might be more to him that there seems.
In Well Played, Emily’s friend Stacy, who has been doing the Faire for years, finds herself sharing intense online communications with her old Faire hookup, a traveling musician named Dex. Or at least, she thinks she is talking to Dex. As Stacy tries to sort out her own feelings–and the truth–we get to go along for the next step with Emily and Simon and see Stacy “grow up” a bit and find her footing in real adulthood.
Both books are good, solid 3.75 star reads. Nothing too special, but a nice little treat a the end of a long day. They aren’t too heavy–though they do touch on parental health issues, etc–and not tooo much smut on the page. They have a good balance of romance and real life doings–the women’s lives don’t just revolve around the men they like, they have jobs that are actually mentioned. We love to hear it.
I definitely enjoyed Well Met better than Well Played–maybe it was because I liked the conceit of enemies to lovers better than catfishing to a degree, but it could also just be that the first in a series is better than the second. The second wasn’t BAD, I just wasn’t invested in it as much as I was in the first.
Have you read either of this books? Which did you prefer? Will you read the third–Well Matched–when it comes out?