cover image Well Played

Well Played

Jen DeLuca. Berkley, $16 trade paper (336p) ISBN 978-1-984805-40-9

DeLuca follows Well Met with this cute but shallow rom-com that sets a Cyrano de Bergerac–style plot against the backdrop of a Renaissance fair. At 22, Stacey Lindholm was on the road to a career in fashion merchandising in New York City when her mother fell ill and Stacey moved back to small-town Willow Creek, Md., to help out. Now almost 27, she feels her life stagnating in a routine broken only by the yearly Renaissance fair she and her friends help organize. For the past two years, Stacey’s scratched her sexual itch with one of the festival musicians, Dex MacLean, in a no-strings-attached arrangement that only lasts the few days he and his cousin are in town for the fair. Then one drunken night, she sends him a message that kicks off a yearlong exchange of flirtatious texts and emails that gives her insight not only into him, but into herself. With this year’s festival upon them, the pair are due to meet in person once more—but it turns out that someone else has been writing Dex’s sweet nothings. The laughs are frequent and the plot charms, but Stacey’s myopic self-pity detracts from the story. Still, the fresh setting and unusual twist make this well worth the time of any rom-com fan. Agent: Taylor Haggerty, Root Literary. (Sept.)