Series: #1 Summer Hill
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Published by Ballantine Books
Released on May 3, 2016
I love being surprised when it comes to finding something where I least expected it when it comes to stories. The author took her new contemporary romance series and tied it snugly in with Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice. Not only did the characters’ lives mimic the classic story, but this group of people were the cast for the summer production of a modern play based in P&P all set in a small town in Virginia. It’s been nearly twenty years since I read a story by this author and I was glad to break the drought with this one. Rompish fun, sizzling encounters, and some slightly over the top plotting make for an engaging summer read. Yep, my first recommendation for your summer reading pleasure.
The story opens with chef, Casey Reddick, settled into a modernized cabin on one of the old family plantation estates. She has been hired to cater the meals for the cast and crew of the play that is being produced for charity. Casey was eager to snap up this opportunity as she needed to get away from DC after all that has happened not to mention it was high-time she connected with her estranged father’s side of the family.
A blazing encounter with the brooding and testy owner of the plantation raises her hackles and prejudices her against the handsome Hollywood heart throb, Tate Landers, who is set to play the hero Mr. Darcy for the play. Casey seems to be the only person to detest him and has no trouble saying so. Others caution her to give him a chance, but it is not until she encounters one of the other actors who has been woefully wronged by Tate that she really gets fuel for her flames.
Tate has worked hard all his life to get where he’s at and he can’t help all the fawning he gets for his looks and charisma so it is a refreshing change to have the snarly and crotchety Casey give him a set down for the ages right in front of the whole cast. The Elizabeth role has been filled even if Casey takes some persuading. Tate is frustrated by her doubts of him and her easy acceptance of his bitter enemy who charms her with sly insinuations and slick lies. How can a guy compete?
While Tate and Casey rage and storm, the rest of their group get up their own behind the scenes intrigues and the play may be the means of righting some old wrongs as well as new ones.
The author took a fun approach of setting up the story as if it were a play with Acts and Scenes listed as the header for each chapter. It was whimsical and set the tone for what was to come. The story jumped right into the middle of things.
People and names and situations are rushed through and it was only later that I was able to sort out who was who, where the connections were, and how things came to be. This would have been alright, but it was rather confusing and distracting for the first segment of the book.
That aside, this is a fun romantic comedy. It doesn’t plunge deep and has a looser feel to the plot and pacing, but I don’t think it’s meant to be more than a light read for a lazy day.
Casey is like a badger when it comes to Tate and I laughed over the unfortunate incidents that seemed to plague their already struggling relationship. Let’s just say they begin with some voyeurism, progress to some B&E involving a wild peacock, a stolen pie, stage antics, and a lot of trouble from a side character full of malice. It was one thing after another with these two.
But in spite of this rocky start, the pair do have some good times. Some very good times.
It was fun that the minor characters were not just background for the main characters. It’s quite a large cast including the players, the family, and the locals. There were three other romance pairs to enjoy. I loved that one was an older pair that very much needed their second chance. It was also a refreshing change to see Jack and Gizzy (aka Bingley and Jane) are action hero types and have some strong opinions. And yes, the presence of a snooty, know it all, older actress may bring one to imagine a modern Lady Catherine. But let’s not forget the plotting, dastardly villain behind most of the trouble.
All in all, it was fun and hilarious. Give it time to sort out and then off it goes. Loved the connection with the original Austen story though this was very much it’s own piece. This is for those who enjoy a small town romantic comedy that’s sweet with a pinch of spice.
I received this book from Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.
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