Well Matched by Jen DeLuca

Well Matched by Jen DeLuca

Rating: 4 out of 5.

The 52 Book Club 2022 Challenge Prompt: 2. Featuring a library or bookstore

Other Possible Prompts: 45. A Book with illustrated people on the cover

I am just FLYING through this year’s challenge! I read Well Matched in literally, a day. I have honestly been most excited to see the April and Mitch story from the town of Willow Creek, so I picked this one up on a snow day with the intent of finishing it in one sitting. And what a good decision that was (even though it fit like, no prompts and I had to swap one read for another to make it fit).

Single mom April is finally nearing the end of her eighteen year sentence: while she adores her daughter, Caitlin, she’s never loved the small town of Willow Creek that she settled them in eighteen years ago. Caitlin’s graduation means she can finally chase her own dreams, starting with selling the house. So she enlists the help of Mitch Malone, Willow Creek gym teacher, coach, and kilted-Ren-Faire-organizer to help her fix it up. In exchange, he asks her to pretend to be his girlfriend in front of his family so they get off his back about settling down.

But much to their surprise, Mitch’s family keeps showing up and forcing their charade, and the more time they spend together fixing up the house, the closer they grow together. April knows it’s all part of the fake girlfriend scheme…but she just might be catching feelings for the sweet and caring Mitch – and that’s not something she’s ready to confront just yet.

This brought me back to what I really enjoyed about Well Met. I didn’t like Well Played as much because neither character was very assertive, and the story was not terribly humorous. But I liked Well Matched a lot better! It was just the right touch of Ren Faire, the added dose of humor, and the perfect friends-to-lovers romance. Not to mention, April and Mitch have been some of my favorite characters from the beginning of Willow Creek’s story. Their dynamic was fun and cute, and their story arc was much improved over Well Played.

And speaking of the story arc: I really liked the “problem” or the climax of Well Matched much better. April has been on her own so long, so closed off from everyone, that it takes Mitch for her to realize this is a choice she’s making and not one she needs to commit to as part of her personality. The pair face struggles of miscommunication and a slow-growing relationship because April is struggling to express those feelings. I thought it was heartfelt and honest, and likely very relatable for readers who have gone through what April did as a young and single mom, giving up her dreams for her kid’s safety and stability.

The only thing that struck me a little odd is that it seems the fault lies almost entirely with April, when it comes to the climax of the romance…and again, not entirely her fault, we all have our things. She was definitely still likeable in spite of her reservations that made her appear cold. Her panic issues, in particular, were so relatable for me and made me like her more, reevaluating her previous appearances in a new light. But you’ll notice throughout the story that there isn’t much blame to lay on Mitch for their “falling apart” (I don’t think this really counts a spoiler…any regular reader of romance knows where it’s going!). He’s a supportive, lighthearted, and funny protagonist with a warmth about him. April felt much more real, but I really liked both of them, and liked diving deeper into their characters, since they’ve been such a big part of the series so far.

Literally every time I read a Jen DeLuca book I want to go to a Renaissance Faire. I have got to try it one of these days, and I’m going all in if I do. Outfits, flower crowns, the whole nine yards. It’s time to get the gals together and do this.

I can’t wait to read Well Traveled! I looked for it on NetGalley and no luck yet…but you’d better believe my eyes are peeled. This renewed my faith in DeLuca’s writing and my interest in the series. I think Caitlin needs a story too! Now that she’s an adult, I think bringing Caitlin back into the folds as a romantic interest, centered around the Faire, would make such an awesome story. I hope that makes book five!

Highly recommend, especially if you loved Well Met! Have an awesome week, peeps!

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