In which experienced West End actress Freddy Carlton takes on an Austen-inspired play, a scandal at a country estate, an enthusiastic search for a passion outside of acting…and the (some people might say icy*) heart of London’s most feared theater critic.
*if those people were being nice
Freddy Carlton knows she should be focusing on her lines for The Austen Playbook, a live-action TV event where viewers choose the outcome of each scene, but her concentration’s been blown. The palatial estate housing the endeavor is now run by the rude (brilliant) critic who’s consistently slammed her performances of late. James “Griff” Ford-Griffin has a penchant for sarcasm, a majestic nose and all the sensitivity of a sledgehammer.
She can’t take her eyes off him.
Griff can hardly focus with a contagious joy fairy flitting about near him, especially when Freddy looks at him like that. His only concern right now should be on shutting down his younger brother’s well-intentioned (disastrous) schemes—or at the very least on the production (not this one) that might save his family home from the banks.
Instead all he can think of is soft skin and vibrant curls.
As he’s reluctantly dragged into her quest to rediscover her passion for the stage and Freddy is drawn into his research on a legendary theater star, the adage about appearances being deceiving proves abundantly true. It’s the unlikely start of something enormous…but a single revelation about the past could derail it all.
“There’s more drama offstage than on, the writing is outstanding, and the bit of mystery blends well into the romance. Theater fans will devour this lovely contemporary romance.”-Publisher’s Weekly, starred review, on The Austen Playbook
“The London Celebrities series-some of the wittiest, smartest dialogue to come down the romance pike in years.”-Kirkus ReviewS of London Celebrities series
I loved this one! I’ve heard so many good things about this series–now I know why 🙂
(And can I just say–I NEED this app and live-action TV event to be a real thing. Like so, so much…
Freddy and Griff’s story was absolutely wonderful. They started out firmly on the “enemies” side of an enemies-to-lovers romance–she’s a stage actress who got started, at least, with a touch of nepotism; he’s a critic who spares the feelings of no one in his reviews, even when encountering them face-to-face. They definitely got off to a wrong-footed start here, but Ms. Parker did an excellent job of showing how their changes of heart where each was concerned came about. I loved that both retained the essential parts of themselves, even as they learned to let the other person in (This quote from Freddy that made me LOL: “Unfortunately, she loved the acerbic, patronizing d*ckhead to bits” was from the second-to-last chapter! There was much snort-laughing during the reading of this one…)
I enjoyed the way that Ms. Parker took all the different story threads here and wove them together into an extremely satisfying ending for everyone (okay, almost everyone–Sabrina, Freddy’s sister could use an HEA–hopefully soon!–but that cow Sadie doesn’t, so…) even though things looked really, really bleak for quite some time there, I finished this one with a huge smile on my face.
The Austen Playbook is the fourth book in the series, but it worked just fine as a standalone. Of course, now I’m dying for the next book (Sab and Nick, please!!!) and already have the first three in my TBR just waiting for a free moment, so… 😉
Rating: 4 1/2 stars / A
I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.