Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Book Review: "Well Played" by Jen DeLuca

The crew from Well Met returns for another renaissance faire season and another fun love story in Jen DeLuca's new book.

Stacey has been part of the Willow Creek Renaissance Faire since high school, and it’s the time she looks forward to most each year. But as much as she enjoys playing the role of the bawdy serving wench, flirting with patrons, and hanging out with her friends, she’s tired of seeing all of her friends with fabulous lives while she feels she's stuck in place. She's starting to want more out of her life and wants to figure out what her future holds.

One lonely night after the season has ended, she sends a drunk message to Dex, the sexy traveling musician from the Faire she hooked up with periodically. She’s embarrassed when she realizes what she’s done, but she’s shocked when she receives a surprisingly sensitive and thoughtful message from the guy with a “wench at every faire.”

The more they communicate, the more she realizes how drawn to Dex she is. Their messages turn to texts and their online relationship intensifies as he travels from faire to faire. And when it comes time for the Willow Creek Faire to start again, Stacey is ready for the possibilities with Dex. But she gets quite a surprise when they’re reunited.

This was a fun and poignant book about a young woman sad that her life is passing her by, but she feels afraid to start anew. It’s also a story about the ways we fall into a rut and fear making changes, and how that can be a roadblock to happiness. I gave away less of the plot than the book's blurb did, but I felt it seemed somewhat obvious anyway.

I love Jen DeLuca’s characters in these books. You can read this one first but you should read her first book, Well Met, too. (I thought that one was a little more fun and focused more on the renaissance faire angle.) She has a third book coming out next year and I'm excited!

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