Well Met5 min read
I do not give any clear spoilers in this review, but in order to speak freely about some of my criticisms of Well Met I have to speak about some of the obvious plot points. I stand behind that everything spoken about in my review can be found on the inside jacket description and online description of the book. That being said, this is not a flattering review of this book. If you want to read this book, please read it but do not continue to read my review beforehand. I do not want to destroy any feelings before anyone has even read the book. Only continue past this paragraph if you truly would like an honest review of what is sure to be a very popular book after its release on September 3, 2019.
Well Met is a story with renaissance and Shakespearian references. The main character, Emily, is in her mid-twenties. After being dumped and essentially left homeless by her previous boyfriend, Emily moves to the small town of Willow Creek, Maryland, to take care of her sister and niece who were recently in a car accident. Her niece, Caitlin, was unhurt in the accident, but her sister, April, is immobile for several weeks. This is the reason that Emily is roped into volunteering at the town’s annual renaissance faire with Caitlin. While volunteering for the faire for the entire summer, Emily makes some new friends and perhaps a new enemy….maybe.
If you like the simile “his face cleared, like the sun coming out from behind a cloud” then you might enjoy Well Met because the author seems to use the same exact descriptions and vocabulary over and over throughout the book. Words that you have not heard often seem to pop up every chapter. Even themes, like the theme of the protagonist feeling like she was becoming close to her niece at the beginning of the story, seemed to pop up on every other page. In short, this book became quite redundant very quickly. It felt as if Jen DeLuca did not have enough trust in the reader to remember what was happening that she had to keep reiterating key points after anything new happened. This made the story move along very slowly, especially at the beginning.
While focusing on this reiteration, a lot of character development was neglected. Yes, this was a story of enemies turned lovers, however it baffles me that there were any feelings of affection between the two of them. The reader knows that it is coming the entire book, but there was no build-up. They hate each other until they don’t. In all actuality Emily and Simon were quite toxic for each other from the beginning, both treating each other like garbage from their very first interaction.
Or did they actually both feel these feelings of hatred at all? Honestly it is hard to say because the whole story is told from Emily’s point of view only. Was Simon’s attitude in that one moment that started all the animosity misunderstood all along? Did he really feel the way about her that she interpreted? Did this story even have a purpose? We will never know.
I believe this book would have been more well-rounded and enjoyable if the author would have given us at least Simon’s point of view. There are definitely reasons behind why he feels and acts the way he does, but the reader only knows this because of Emily’s sometimes shortsighted interpretation of events. I would be interested to know if he really was treating her as badly as she seemed to think because he sure did fall in love with her quickly. But why?
Another point of view might also help the reader to believe that Emily was not just falling into old patterns of falling for the guy who only cared about his needs. I do not believe Jen DeLuca intended for her protagonist to choose men who made her feel worthless, but because of Emily’s single point of view of how the men in her life treat her the reader can’t help but classify her this way. This classification not only makes the narrator unreliable, but also makes her seem like a powerless female. This is the reason I could not connect with Emily; she was either weak or petty, neither of which are valuable character traits. If you read my review on The Nobodies, you will see that I very much appreciate a strong female narrator. I never saw this in Emily.
Content warning: There is an explicit sex scene in this book. It is not as descriptive as one you would find in an erotica genre book, but it is definitely not subtle. I actually thought the author’s writing was the best during this short scene, and I do not even read steamier books. I predict that I appreciated her writing here because there was no repetition since it was the only love scene.
After reading my review if you are still unsure if you would like to read it, take a chance. This book is projected to become a bestseller, so my opinions, although I stand behind them, are definitely in the minority. If you would like to pre-order this book before its release date on September 3, you can use this link at Amazon to do so. Let me know in the comments if have read this book, plan to, or even feel different than I feel.