Review: The Austen Playbook by Lucy Parker

Posted August 30, 2020 by Sophia Rose in Reviews / 20 Comments

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I received this book for free from Gift in exchange for an honest review.
This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: The Austen Playbook by Lucy Parker
The Austen Playbook

One StarOne StarOne StarOne Star

Series: London Celebrities #4
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Romantic Comedy
Published by Carina Press
Released on April 22, 2019
Pages: 400
Format: eBook
Source: Gift
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The Delight

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.

Challenges Met

Mt. TBR #56
COYER Quarantine #62
Austenesque Lovers #31


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I was born and raised near Sacramento, CA. I have read since I was four years old and developed tastes that run the gamut of literature. I went away to college and have a degree in education, a certificate in family history research, and a certificate in social work. I worked for a non-profit agency with low income families for 20 years which included being responsible for the children’s library and promoting/teaching adult literacy. I have lived in Southeast Michigan for the last 18 years and I am currently a book addicted homemaker with a cat and husband who keep me grounded. Recently, I made it a challenge to review each book that I have read as a favor to author friends who said reviews are important. I have done reviews for Good Reads, Amazon, eBay, and Smashwords, but mostly at Goodreads and Amazon.

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1 year ago

I think I would enjoy this – I’m drawn to anything that relates to Jane Austen though .

Out of curiosity, is the nod to Austen just in that her role is an Austen one? Or do you see a retelling in it a bit too? I feel like I can see a little Darcy, Elizabeth based on your review… But that could just be that they are like the best version of enemies to lovers every written (imo lol).

Great review!

Sophia Rose
1 year ago
Reply to  Berls

The show connection was a fun way to tribute Austen, but yes, you are so right that there is a vibe. I wouldn’t go so far as to say it’s a retelling because it’s not, but there’s enough to make the reader feel it like you did.

1 year ago

I was a big fan of this pairing, because I would never have imagined them working together, but they did. And Griff was a wonderful grumpy hero who won my heart.

Sophia Rose
1 year ago
Reply to  Sam@wlabb

Yeah, they don’t work on paper, but they were great together. Haha, he was such a big grump and I loved him anyway. 🙂

1 year ago

I read the first three of the series, but I haven’t read the newer ones. This does sound like a fun installment, and I do enjoy Parker’s writing. I’ll have to get back to the series soon. 🙂

Sophia Rose
1 year ago
Reply to  Rachel

I can’t believe I haven’t noticed this series before. This book was good fun and I think I’d enjoy the other stories, too. Maybe the library…
Yes, you need to keep going to this one. 🙂

Carole Rae
1 year ago

I’m glad you were able to jump right in. I love series like that! I’m horrible at starting in the middle of a series eeeek

Sophia Rose
1 year ago
Reply to  Carole Rae

I know, LOL, sometimes it works out and sometimes out of order is a disaster. 🙂

Debbie Haupt
1 year ago

This sounds really good Sophia Rose thanks for sharing 🙂 xo

Sophia Rose
1 year ago
Reply to  Debbie Haupt

I had a good time. Hope you get the chance to try her stuff. I know how you like BritLit.

1 year ago

This sounds fun, Sophia.

Sophia Rose
1 year ago
Reply to  Nadene

I liked the actors and play part and the characters bantered so well. 🙂

1 year ago

Sounds like a winner for you. Do you think you’ll go back and try earlier books? I am trying to think when I last read a book in the theater. Karen (White) Grey’s book revolves around Shakespeare.

Sophia Rose
1 year ago
Reply to  Jen

I liked her writing style and I’ve been told by others that their favorites were earlier in the series so I want to- now if I actually will…? So many books. 🙂

1 year ago

Always drawn to Austen. Glad to see this one can be read as a standalone besides being part of a series.

Sophia Rose
1 year ago
Reply to  vvb

I like when a series is flexible like this. Especially, if the book that piques my interest isn’t book one. 🙂

Kimberly @ Caffeinated Reviewer

This sounds different and I like that each book is a standalone.

Sophia Rose
1 year ago

Yeah, it was fun getting behind the scenes in the world of theater and two very different family dynamics. Their banter was hilarious at times. I was glad I was able to dive in with no trouble.

1 year ago

Sounds like a nice combination of the light and fun feel, but with some deeper topics as well. Sounds like the two characters make for a great couple. I am not a fan of romances that develop too quickly, but in some books it can work. Great review!

Sophia Rose
1 year ago
Reply to  Lola

It was all of that. I had a good time. 🙂