I read Well Met when it was released and I liked it but didn’t love it. I do LOVE the Ren Faire setting in this series. Plus they take place in Maryland, where I live and I love to see how it is depicted. I was intrigued by the secondary characters from Well Met so I was excited to see that Stacey was getting her story told in Well Played (out 9/22). I mistakenly thought Stacey was going to be paired with Mitch, so shame on me for jumping to conclusions. Once I refreshed myself on the blurb/pairing I was all set for Ren Faire take on You’ve Got Mail (how a friend described it to me).
This book just fell so flat for me. The main setup is that Stacey is feeling a little lonely and feeling lost after her BFFs get engaged. Stacey gets drunk and messages Dex, her FWB from the Ren Faire. This is where the story started to fall apart for me. I never fully understood why Stacey was interested in Dex to become more than an occasional hookup. She didn’t say there was anything remarkable about their time together. I certainly understand that feeling lonely causes a person to do silly things and see things that might not be there and I am a forgiving reader so I just powered on.
Stacey and “Dex” quickly build a relationship via email letters and then texts. I am here for all the contemporary epistolary romances. Please give me more. Back to this story. They exchange emails and get medium levels of deep but I never felt a strong connection. The epistolary doesn’t last terribly long and then Stacey finds out she’s been duped. She spends like 4 minutes being upset and then immediately forgives Not-Dex. LIKE WHAT? She wants to try having a relationship with him? Why, Stacey, tell me why??? Because you’re lonely?
I highlighted this quote with a note to myself that said “but why?”
Until this moment I hadn’t been sure how I’d wanted this conversation to go. Somewhere, down in the deepest part of my primitive lizard brain, I’d known that it hadn’t been Dex that I’d been getting to know all these months, and even more importantly, I hadn’t wanted it to be. I wanted it to be XXX.
I never understood it. To me, I never felt their connection and the WHY behind their match. At this point I was so uninvested in the story and really didn’t care. It was a pretty quick read so I kept reading, and I am a sucker apparently. Anyway the male Love Interest does another “bad thing” and once again Stacey let him off SO EASY. Stacey, girl, we need to talk about this. I am all for forgiveness and moving on, especially with ones we love but friend, he lied to you. Multiple times. Be angry about that for longer than 5 minutes. Think about how to prevent this from happening again. At this point in the book, I was mad at Stacey, mad at her love interest, mad at the whole book.
I kept thinking about the movie You’ve Got Mail and what worked for me about that story and how I was willing to move on from Tom Hanks’s character lying is that you got to watch their relationship develop in two ways. Via the online chatting and in person. Even though Meg Ryan doesn’t know it’s him, you see their chemistry and how it develops and you get to see how they start to lean on each other via their letters as well. I didn’t feel that connection here. I felt zero connection, no investment in their love story and I was mad that Stacey was so forgiving, multiple times. I do think that part of my being upset was because the characters didn’t behave in the way that I wanted. But also, I wanted more from the match between Stacey and her LI. I was bummed that this didn’t work for me.