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Why I love it
Whenever I show off my hometown of Annapolis, MD, to first-time visitors, I make them do the following things: eat crabs, sit by the bay, and spend a day at the Renaissance Festival. If that last one gave you pause, allow me to convince you: Giant turkey legs! Lots o’ booze! You can throw an axe, watch grown men wield spears, and, inexplicably, slide down a magic carpet-themed slide! Needless to say, I’ve got serious Ren Fest nostalgia.
But even if you’ve never sported a flower crown or stuffed your face with funnel cake, there’s so much to love about Well Met, a rom-com set at a summer Ren Fest. It’s the story of Emily, a 20-something who, after a bad breakup, moves in with her sister to take care of her niece. Aunt duties lead her to volunteer at the local Ren Faire—as a tavern wench no less—where she’s quick to butt heads with Simon, the uptight schoolteacher in charge of the festival. But when Simon dons his pirate costume, a new and freer personality comes with it, and suddenly Emily finds herself wanting to be more than just enemies...
I’m not gonna lie, when I first picked up this book, I was expecting it to be a little too fluffy—but what I found instead was a story that had me completely emotionally invested. Emily is smart, witty, and devoted to her family, and I loved watching her unpack the puzzle that is grumpy Simon. This is a book about friendship, beautiful men in kilts, and figuring out where you belong—and the romance at its core is endearing to witness. Well Met is funny, sincere, and feel-good in all the best ways.
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.
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