This was my August Book of the Month – and yet another hit for my monthly choice. Honestly, if you’re in a reading rut or have a hard time choosing books, give Book of the Month a shot. I was initially a little hesitant about this book, with the ultra cute cover and title. I went in expecting a light, cutesy read, but was surprised by this books depth and quality of story. One side note, the fact that this book wasn’t titled All’s Faire is a real lost opportunity.
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.
While this is a great love story, it’s also predominantly a story about what two people would do for their families. Having this dual focus (of romance and family) really allowed for a depth I hadn’t expected from this book. I went in expecting some cheesy accents (which there definitely were) and a good deal of chemistry between the two main characters (which they definitely had plenty of) but this book was so much more. This story was honest and realistic – there weren’t any unbelievable fights or major leaps in a character’s personality to add excitement to the plot. Instead, it was through how grounded the story and it’s characters were that this book shines. The main plot was also excellently paced – there were virtually no slow spots – and it was well supplemented by a healthy number of subplots.
I don’t think I’ve ever read a book set in a Renaissance Fair, and after reading Well Met, I’m wondering why more books don’t use this setting. It provided the historic/fairytale whimsy of the two main characters getting to pretend to be a bar wench and a pirate in an unlikely romance, while allowing the modern conveniences of life (and female empowerment). Having Emily and Simon pretend to be in love during the days at the fair and hate each other in real life allowed for an interesting contrast and characterization. As the line between their worlds blurred more and more, it was easy to relate to Emily and how she was trying to figure out where exactly the make-believe ended and real life began.
I love a strong, relatable female lead character, and Emily was exactly that. She had recently stepped up to take care of her niece while her sister recovered from a major car accidents, and spends the rest of this book finding herself and figuring out who she wanted to be. Best of all, she stood up for herself and was willing to put her foot down when she wasn’t being treated the way she should be. Simon, on the other hand, was a fun onion to peel. At the surface level he was a jerk who took the fair way too seriously. But as the book progressed, Emily slowly learned exactly why he took the fair so seriously and how it was a tribute to his family. He’s trapped by his obligations to his family in a similar was that Emily is. Through their initial chemistry and relationship, they grew together and started to reevaluate what exactly their values were and what their obligations to their family weare. Their chemistry while in character was off the charts right away, but their real personalities took longer to catch up (but eventually the chemistry was off the charts).
Feeling the cabin fever this winter? Be sure to check out this book for it’s summery vibes. Reading this felt like I was right next to the characters in a warm summer forest with the smells of the faire. If you’re looking for a great romance with a unordinary setting, this is the book for you. Don’t let the cute cover fool you, this book has depth and is one of my favorite romances of 2019. 5/5