I know. I know. You’re not even surprised by this choice because I pretty much signposted it last Tuesday. And yet somehow I’m not sorry and I don’t care. There’s a new Lucy Parker book – it came out yesterday (aka Monday) and I’m going to write about it.
This is the fourth in the London Celebrities series and this features another fun enemies (or sort of enemies) to lovers type relationship, still in the acting world but this time away from the West End. Freddie comes from an acting dynasty – she’s successful in her field and knows what she wants to do. The trouble is it’s not what her dad – who is also her manager – wants her to do. He wants her to follow in the family footsteps and be a Great Dramatic Actress – preferably by taking the key role in the legendary play her grandmother wrote. She wants to do the comedies and musicals that she loves. While her dad is out of the country she accepts a role in a new Jane Austen-based TV show – against his wishes – to try and buy a bit of time to think and plan and just enjoy working.
Griff is a man with a problem – an empty bank account and a giant family house to save-type problem. His parents get through money like it’s water, as they lurch from one obsession to another, and his little brother keeps coming up with harebrained schemes to save the family fortunes. The latest is that same Austen-based TV spectacular – which is going to be broadcast live from the theatre in the grounds. A theatre in fact that was built by his grandfather during a torrid affair with Freddie’s grandmother. So having her on site won’t be at all awkward. Oh no not at all. And did I mention that he’s a theatre critic who gave less than favourable notices to Freddie’s last role? Yeah, that too.
As well as the enemies to lovers, this has forced proximity, a family feud, some terrible parents and an opposites attracts couple that works really well. Freddie is sunny and optimistic and Griff is a bit of an Eeyore. She balances out his pessimism but without losing any of her positivity or changing herself and becoming in some way less.. And he turns out to be really great at supporting her, so that she can do what she wants and stand up for herself a little bit better. And the family feud subplot is really, really fun. It is a little bit insta-love between the two of them once they get to the country house, but it didn’t bother me – because you were already aware that there was some chemistry going on from the opening scene. In some of the previous books in the series, I’ve occasionally had issues with some of the language choices from Parker (who is from New Zealand) as not actually things that Brits would say* – but I don’t remember having any in this book. I would happily read just as many books in this world as Lucy Parker can come up with. Also, please can Freddy’s sister be the heroine of the next book – there seemed like some definite set up going on there for her and A N Other member of the supporting cast. Pretty please. Thank you.
Anyway, my copy came from NetGalley, but you should be able to get hold of The Austen Playbook from all the usual ebook retailers – Kindle and Kobo are £5.49 at time of writing this post. And if you haven’t already read the others in this series, Act Like it (the first book) is £2.80 on Kindle and Kobo too. So – go forth and read some delightful romance.
*There was a big rant here about the use of “on the West End” rather than “in the West End” – which is one of my total pet hates but that’s not just a Lucy Parker thing – it’s rapidly spreading because of “on Broadway”. I won’t bore you with my ravings though. Or at least bore you more than this