Friday, May 3, 2019

Book Review - The Austen Playbook (London Celebrities) by Lucy Parker

Book Synopsis
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.

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Purchase Links

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My Review

The Austen Playbook tells the story of Freddy (Frederica) Carlton, an actress from a London acting family who has traveled to the English countryside to appear in a Jane Austen inspired "choose your own adventure" style TV production.  While rehearsing to play Lydia Bennett in the production, she runs into theater critic Griff, who has been very harsh about her acting in the past.  He is at his family's estate to research a future film about a theater star -- and a story that connects both their families.


I wanted to read this novel initially because I was intrigued by the London theater setting.  I loved theater (and studied acting) in my 20's and knew I would like the setting.  I did!  However, I was even more interested in the sparks that flew between Freddy and Griff ... and I loved the family history that brought the past into this story as well.


The writing is smart and lively, with some clever British wit.  For instance, this description from the book:  "It was a truth, universally acknowledged that an actor in a rut must be in a want of a spot of murder, mayhem, and true love" (Kindle location 441).


The story really became especially interesting to me when Freddy and Griff took off to a spooky neighboring estate to research the past of Henrietta (Freddy's ancestor) and Sir George (Griff's ancestor).  The past that begins to unravel there - and the way it impacts the present - was fascinating.


The author uses a lot of British slang and uniquely British words.  I was grateful for the word definition feature on my Kindle!   It was fun learning a lot of new words and expressions by reading this book.


This is the fourth book in the London Celebrities series.  I have not read the rest of the series (yet!) but enjoyed this novel as a standalone read.


I recommend The Austen Playbook for fans of smartly written romance, British settings, all things Austen, and lively wit and storytelling.


Author Bio

Lucy Parker lives in the gorgeous Central Otago region of New Zealand, where she feels lucky every day to look out at mountains, lakes and vineyards. She has a degree in Art History, loves museums and galleries, and doodles unrecognisable flowers when she has writer’s block.

Her interest in romantic fiction began with a pre-teen viewing of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice (Firth-style), which prompted her to read the book as well, and the rest was history.


Connect with Lucy

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1 comment:

Sara Strand said...

I'm glad that you enjoyed this one and made use of your dictionary on your Kindle! (I am SO grateful for that feature sometimes!) Thank you for being on this tour. Sara @ TLC Book Tours