This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Romantic Comedy
Published by Carina Press
Released on April 22, 2019
An actress, her biggest critic, and an engaging opposites attract by way of enemies to lovers romance. This was my first venture into Lucy Parker’s books and I enjoyed the light style of the writing, the colorful characters, and a bevy of plot threads that made for a delightful read.
The Austen Playbook is fourth in the London Celebrities series of standalones that revolve around the theater world of West End. I hadn’t read the books before this one and had no trouble diving in. In fact, I couldn’t tell you how these books connect other than maybe location and setting.
Frederica Carlton is an actress who is a smiling optimist who hides a burden behind the smile. Her acting has taken a hit lately and from one particular critic, but she shrugs it off. Her heart leans toward comedy, but she will follow her dad’s dreams to make up for what she did. Now, her latest job takes her into a live-action TV show, The Austen Playbook, where the viewers can input on the scene outcomes. And, wouldn’t you know it, filming is on grumpy critic, James Griffin’s family estate. The pair couldn’t be more different, but somehow they work. Can what they have survive the drama that comes off stage?
Griff takes everything seriously from his critics to his family’s precarious income situation. His brother’s schemes cause more trouble and his latest of letting a TV show on the family estate is only the latest. Griff is working on a project and he wants the show gone, but a flitting and surprisingly attractive actress keeps turning his head. It’s not long before he goes from her biggest critic to her biggest fan.
I have had this book setting on my shelf for many months. I was excited to have it, but it languished. But, it caught my eye once again and the time was ripe for a bit of theater romancing. I loved the British feel to the writing that could only enhance the romance which was set in England and had British characters. There was a light and fun feel to the book, but it did have some heavy subjects like Freddy’s misplaced guilt or Griff taking on the weight of family duty. There was a lot going on around this romance that all had to play out.
In truth, the romance itself was the easy part. This surprised me. I was all prepared for this long-fought enemies to lovers-opposites attract road to love when this pair tumbled head over heels in a flash. Definitely too quickly, really, but I’m going to go contrary to my usual criticism of that because I liked them and liked them together. They’re funny- his ice king sardonic humor and her warm-hearted toss back at him. Besides, there was plenty of other stuff going on to cause tension and conflict in this book so the spicy, sensual romance didn’t need to be one of those things.
When I say a lot, I mean their careers, their families, and their own personal journeys of character development and a huginormous cast of characters. It can get dizzying at times especially when I was sorting out names and nicknames, too. The back half gets pretty dramatic and had some suspenseful moments that had me on edge, but the drama didn’t go on too long and for all that was going on around them, the romance pair were at the center and were still the focus.
I haven’t read a book set in the theater world in a long while and even though this was set on an estate far from the West End theaters, it was still all about the theater world even his grandmother was a playwriter in the past. The setting and world was painted well by the author so that it was part of the story and not just a brief mention. I had no trouble believing her characters were part of the world.
So, all in all, my first outing with the author’s books and series was a hit. I loved seeing the nod to Jane Austen’s works while still being a modern, humorous and spicy romance. I can definitely recommend it to other contemporary romance fans who enjoy the theater world.
Mt. TBR #56
COYER Quarantine #62
Austenesque Lovers #31
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