The Austen Playbook (London Celebrities, #4)
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.

The Austen Playbook (London Celebrities, #4) Details

TitleThe Austen Playbook (London Celebrities, #4)
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseApr 22nd, 2019
PublisherCarina Press
Rating
GenreRomance, Contemporary, Contemporary Romance, Adult

The Austen Playbook (London Celebrities, #4) Review

  • Blackjack
    January 1, 1970
    Though Pretty Face has been my favorite of Parker's books, the central romance in The Austen Playbook comes awfully close, if not surpassing it. I have a few minor reservations about other elements of this novel, but the romance between Freddy & Griff is swoon-worthy and just quite wonderful. I already want to reread their segments.As with all of the London Celebrities books, the grumpy hero who loses his heart to the charms of a Parker heroine is a mainstay. Griff is perhaps a tad icier tha Though Pretty Face has been my favorite of Parker's books, the central romance in The Austen Playbook comes awfully close, if not surpassing it. I have a few minor reservations about other elements of this novel, but the romance between Freddy & Griff is swoon-worthy and just quite wonderful. I already want to reread their segments.As with all of the London Celebrities books, the grumpy hero who loses his heart to the charms of a Parker heroine is a mainstay. Griff is perhaps a tad icier than previous heroes, which only makes his fall even more intense and fun to witness. What's better than a grumpy hero is a grumpy besotted one long overdue for a reckoning; Griff fits this requirement to the hilt. As one of the top theater critics and drama scholars in London, Griff is renowned for his acerbic take-downs of uneven acting performances and lackluster writing and even sees himself doing a public service to consumers. As an avid reader of reviews, I totally get this philosophy! On the surface, that perhaps does not bode well for a romance with an actress long on the receiving end of his barbs. But to her credit and Griff's surprise, Freddy has enjoyed his poison-penned weekly columns and has been a secret fan of his astute observations, even (and perhaps especially) when she has been the focus of his ire. Though they have superficially known each other in the West End theater scene for years, Freddy feels that Griff "sees" her in a way that few others have, and she values his insights and even learns from them. Once Griff and Freddy are thrown together during the production of an upcoming live filming of a stage play on Griff's rural estate, both realize fairly quickly that there is an undeniable attraction and one that goes beyond the mere physical. While Freddy already knows that Griff's grumpiness draws her to him, she discovers too that there is a gentle and loving man behind the facade. Griff's surprise though at discovering Freddy is more than he ever anticipated is worth the time spent reading this book. I love plots that involve regret at mistaking the worth of another person, especially when romance is involved. Griff's realization that Freddy is wise and perceptive, not to mention lovely, talented, and sweet, is one of the best aspects of the story. I wondered in the opening pages how Parker could bring such different characters together given how opposite they are, but she does this subtly and with such craft that I had trouble keeping a smile off my face every time Freddy and Griff interacted. Their attraction develops flawlessly from one scene to the next. I also want to add too that the sexuality in this story is lovely to behold. They are passionate lovers, undoubtedly, but behind the passion are some welcome observations about valuing a woman's sexual choices. Griff is fearless in his respect for Freddy's sexual rights and even past mistakes, and I just adored him for the care he accords her, as well as Lucy Parker for creating such a hero.I stopped just short of giving this book a full five stars only because some of the events in the final quarter of book took away from time I wanted with the main characters. The best distraction from the main couple though concerns Freddy's sister, Sabrina, and what appears to be foreshadowing of the next romance, if I'm not mistaken. The book ends on a bit of a cliffhanger with respect to the upcoming Book 5 too.The rich artistic setting of the West End theater scene is one of the best features of the entire series and I truly love this world and hope this series continues indefinitely.
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  • Hollis
    January 1, 1970
    The man looked like an assassin in a war film, and would be temperamentally suited to the part. He probably even orgasmed with a frosty stare into the middle distance.I finished THE AUSTEN PLAYBOOK with happy tears in my eyes. This book gave me all the feels. And all the lols, too. As usual I highlighted the crap out of this book.She wanted to do productions that she wholeheartedly enjoyed, she wanted a passion outside of theatre, and really -- she just wanted to be happy. She also wanted other The man looked like an assassin in a war film, and would be temperamentally suited to the part. He probably even orgasmed with a frosty stare into the middle distance.I finished THE AUSTEN PLAYBOOK with happy tears in my eyes. This book gave me all the feels. And all the lols, too. As usual I highlighted the crap out of this book.She wanted to do productions that she wholeheartedly enjoyed, she wanted a passion outside of theatre, and really -- she just wanted to be happy. She also wanted other people to be happy, and it often seemed to be an either/or choice.Parker's grumpy heroes are some of my favourite, and Griff is no exception, but we need to talk more about her real and charming heroines, too. Freddy was forking fabulous. But the added element of reality to the author's romances (stretch marks, bad shower sex, just to name a few delightful examples) are what keep this grounded and balanced considering the London West End-style hijinks and drama that tend to ensue. "According to London Celebrity, control freaks are at much greater risk for arthritis, impotence, and pattern baldness. Just so you know.""As long as you have a reliable source."This couple was so beautifully, wonderfully, honest. Their openness, their communication, the acceptance of their feelings.. it was just gorgeous. It made me happy, and fuzzy, and very swoony. His tone conjured images of empty chocolate boxes, and the aftermath of a party, and missing the bus by thirty seconds, and all of life's fleeing moments of gloom.Set against a live-action whodunit Austen performance, there are reveals and betrayals and all sorts of excitement to be had. There was really nothing I didn't love about this one but, as always, Parker includes some nastier characters in amongst the lovelier ones.. though I just about died when one of said nasties got a wooden phallus in the eye. Trust me, not only is it on brand for the story, it's just what she deserves."For a man who grew up in a house with blowjob carvings on the library mantle, you're very judgmental of other people's decor."With each new addition to the London Celebrities series, it's getting harder and harder to have a favourite couple because they are all so wonderful. Freddy and Griff are a great addition to this world and I hope to see them in some of Parker's famous extras and, maybe, even in the background of book five? Hmm? Maybe?"Calls me a contagious joy fairy when we're alone in a dusty backroom. Compares me to a stagnant pond in a London newspaper. Timing, my friend. It's a beautiful thing."Highly recommend. 4.25 "Griff was starting to look a tiny bit peeved. Freddy was suddenly having a great time" stars
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  • DJ Sakata
    January 1, 1970
    Favorite Quotes:He was all injured gentlemanly charm. It would be more successful if she hadn’t witnessed him getting absolutely rat-arsed at a wrap party, whipping his trousers off, and drawing a smiley-face on his willy. Once you’d seen a bloke doodling on his dick with permanent ink, the mystique was gone.Look at that, her mere presence could make a man’s entire being go instantly flaccid. As superhuman powers went, she didn’t really rate it up there with invisibility and flight.I hope the ba Favorite Quotes:He was all injured gentlemanly charm. It would be more successful if she hadn’t witnessed him getting absolutely rat-arsed at a wrap party, whipping his trousers off, and drawing a smiley-face on his willy. Once you’d seen a bloke doodling on his dick with permanent ink, the mystique was gone.Look at that, her mere presence could make a man’s entire being go instantly flaccid. As superhuman powers went, she didn’t really rate it up there with invisibility and flight.I hope the baffling fact that you’re letting it be staged on your property doesn’t mean I’ll miss out on the joy of a written review. They’re useful to have around if I’m ever in danger of developing self-esteem.I’m a forgiving soul… Can’t say the same for some of that lot out there. And it’s a murder-mystery play. All the suspects gathered together for a house party. It could give someone ideas… The sarcastic critic with his poison pen and scores of embittered enemies. If this was Midsomer Murders, you wouldn’t even make it to the opening credits. If you hear the faint strains of ominous music, come find me. I’ll protect you.Ma once said that if it hadn’t been for the twenty-hour labour, she might have thought he’d spontaneously animated from an ice sculpture.He was broad-shouldered and long-legged, with dark skin and eyes, and his bone structure was unbelievable. He might have been carved by Michelangelo rather than sprouting from cells like other mortals. My Review:This was a fun and cleverly written book that was brimming with levity, razor sharp banter, pithy and wry commentary, keenly honed wit, family drama, a bit of intrigue, and most importantly, an enemies to lovers romance. I adored it, and how could I not – as the main characters were intelligent adults who laced their humor with brilliantly placed Scooby Doo and Harry Potter references. I enjoyed Ms. Parker’s vibrant characters, vivid descriptions, and colorful word choices. I also gleaned an addition to my Brit word list with sarky, which is Brit slang for sarcastic, as I could never have enough of those words. ;)
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  • Caz
    January 1, 1970
    I've given this an A at AAR.The Austen Playbook, the fourth in Lucy Parker’s  London Celebrities series, is one of the most eagerly anticipated new releases of 2019 – and I’m here to tell you your patience will most definitely be rewarded when it comes out.  It’s got all Ms. Parker’s trademarks; the two principals are wonderfully appealing, the secondary cast is well-drawn, the dialogue is snappy – and most importantly, it’s got the depth, emotional resonance and soul-deep connection between th I've given this an A at AAR.The Austen Playbook, the fourth in Lucy Parker’s  London Celebrities series, is one of the most eagerly anticipated new releases of 2019 – and I’m here to tell you your patience will most definitely be rewarded when it comes out.  It’s got all Ms. Parker’s trademarks; the two principals are wonderfully appealing, the secondary cast is well-drawn, the dialogue is snappy – and most importantly, it’s got the depth, emotional resonance and soul-deep connection between the leads she’s so good at creating (and which I felt was missing in the previous book).Frederica – Freddy – Carlton is the youngest member of an acting dynasty whose members have been treading the boards in the West End for the last four hundred years.  She’s been acting since she was a child, and although she made her name performing in a string of popular comedies and musicals, she’s now turned her hand to more serious pieces at the urging of her manager – who also happens to be her father Rupert, whose acting career came to an end following an accident years earlier.  But Freddy’s heart isn’t really in the meaty, dramatic roles she’s being urged to undertake. Her real love is for lighter theatre – musicals, rom-coms, physical comedy – and she knows that’s where her real talent lies, in performing pieces that leave the audiences feeling better at the end of the evening than they did at the beginning.  Yet although she recognises that Rupert is living vicariously through her, she can’t bring herself to disappoint him by refusing to go along with his plans for her. He’s pushing her to audition for the leading role in The Velvet Room, the masterpiece that catapulted her grandmother Henrietta into the history books as both actress and playwright – and in Freddy’s opinion, another piece of weepy philosophical introspection that just isn’t her cup of tea.The fact that Freddy isn’t suited to the heavier roles hasn’t escaped the extremely perceptive – and extremely annoying – theatre critic, James Ford-Griffin, Grumpiest TV presenter in the UK. And the witty wanker behind the scathing theatre reviews in the Westminster Post.  She’s having a drink with friends after a rather disastrous performance when she overhears him talking to someone in the next booth in the pub, uncomfortably aware that his cutting remarks are right on the nose:“For some reason, she’s pursuing a determined line in high-brow dramas, when she’d clearly rather be stamping about in puddles in Singin’ in the Rain.”It’s completely unnerving that this man, whom she doesn’t know, has seen through her façade, and more unnerving still is the way her stomach suddenly feels like it’s full of butterflies when she ends up standing next to him at the bar.  Sure, he’s good-looking, but sadly, behind those compelling dark eyes, that platinum blond hair and majestic nose lurks a frosty demeanour and all the personality of an iceberg.Griff has spent pretty much his entire adult life trying to rein in his spendthrift parents while they indulge their flights of fancy with no thought to their responsibilities. The family home at Highbrook in Surrey is heavily mortgaged, and Griff is desperately trying to find ways to pay off the pile of debt as well as to make the estate viable for at least the next few years. He is currently seeking financing for a film about the life of Henrietta Carlton, who wrote The Velvet Room at Highbrook while in the throes of a passionate affair with his grandfather, but that’s not progressing well at the moment thanks to Rupert Carlton’s interference. Griff’s younger brother, Charlie – who Griff sees as not much more responsible than their parents – has come up with a scheme which might make them some money in the short-term; they’ll rent out the Henry Theatre (built in the grounds by Sir George Ford as a gift for Henrietta) to the company producing The Austen Playbook, a live TV event based on an extremely popular game featuring characters from Jane Austen’s novels. Griff isn’t best pleased at the idea, but at least the TV company will pay for the necessary renovations to the theatre and the income will give him a bit of breathing space while he continues to seek funding for the film.With Freddy cast as Lydia Bennett, she and Griff are thrown into each other’s orbit once again, and the spark of attraction that had leapt between them that night months ago in the pub flares to life again. Their romance develops quickly – something they both acknowledge – but the author does such a great job of creating a genuinely strong emotional connection between them and showing the ways in which they come to understand each other, that I never felt as though things were moving too fast. They’re well-rounded, complex characters who are like chalk and cheese in many ways; Freddy is generally outgoing, vibrant and chatty where Griff is more reticent and serious, but when it comes to the really important things between them, they’re very much on the same wavelength. I loved Freddy’s open-heartedness and was impressed by the way she’s so positive about falling for Griff:“If I end up getting hurt, I would still never regret falling for him. I’m not going to hold back on investing in him just because there are no guarantees in life.”– because it’s such a contrast to so many characters in romances who insist on holding back or walling off their emotions because they fear being hurt.Griff is a swoonworthy hero who turns out to be perfect boyfriend material without being given a complete personality transplant. He’s a truly decent guy who’s big enough to own it when he screws up, and while his observations may often be critical, they’re also often true – even Freddy has to admit to herself that some of his criticisms have actually been helpful. Freddy learns to see through to the real Griff, not an iceberg at all, but a man who cares deeply about doing the best for those he loves, and she comes to appreciate his good qualities as she comes to understand him better. I especially enjoyed the support they offer each other at difficult moments; that’s not to say everything is plain sailing for them, but there’s no Big Mis because these two talk to each other.There’s an intriguing plotline running alongside the romance, which is going to test Freddy and Griff’s loyalty to their families and each other when, during the course of some background research for the film, Freddy makes a surprising and potentially damaging discovery which could destroy reputations and careers. It really held my interest and is fully integral to the story rather than being something just tacked on to provide some conflict in the romance.The familial relationships – Freddy and her TV presenter sister, Griff and his charming and more laid-back brother – are wonderfully realised, and as in all the London Celebrities books, there’s a fabulously drawn secondary cast, consisting mostly of a disparate group of actors (including the viperous Sadie Frost, whom we’ve met in previous books) who, just as in real life, get along and hate each other’s guts to varying degrees. Tempers fray and egos clash as the performance gets nearer, and we’re also treated to what I suspect is the set up for the next book, as we watch Freddy’s sister and her biggest rival (who happens to be Griff’s best mate) rip each other to shreds with verbal barbs and looks that could kill at ten paces.Funny, sexy, warm and smart, Austen Playbook is a thoroughly entertaining read that kept me glued from first page to last, and I’m confidently predicting its appearance on my Best Books of 2019 list. It’s just that good.
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  • WhiskeyintheJar/Kyraryker
    January 1, 1970
    I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Coming from a legacy of actors, Freddy is only twenty-three and has been acting for thirteen years. After her father's career ended in a way that makes her feel somewhat responsible, she has tried to mold her career to what he has wanted. When a chance between taking a role he wants for her and one she wants for herself, with some added family legacy drama, thin I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Coming from a legacy of actors, Freddy is only twenty-three and has been acting for thirteen years. After her father's career ended in a way that makes her feel somewhat responsible, she has tried to mold her career to what he has wanted. When a chance between taking a role he wants for her and one she wants for herself, with some added family legacy drama, things come to ahead.(Jamie) Ford-Griffin has been trying to keep his family and their ancestral home afloat. When his brother comes to him with another seemingly harebrained idea, he despairs even more. His family and Freddy's have some history and her father is currently blocking a project he needs to go ahead for income but there is something about Freddy's warm exuberant personality that calls to his normally grumpy taciturn self.It's an Austen house party full of drama, intrigue, villains, and falling in love. It was a truth universally acknowledged that an actor in a rut must be in want of a spot of murder, mayhem, and true love. If you've read the other three books in the London Celebrities series, you'll remember glimpses of Freddy and Jamie. This works as a standalone but one of the author's strong points is how well she writes an interconnected world. She immerses you in these character's lives and surrounds them with believable friends, family, and outer issues. I did feel at times like Freddy and Jamie's romance got pushed to the side in favor of the overall picture but I still felt their romance and believed in it. The story can be said to be a two villain piece, a co-actor of Freddy's and her father, I think the co-actor could have been cut (she does play a part in pushing the family legacy drama) in favor of declogging or making more breathing room for Jamie and Freddy. Every other secondary character I thought was perfection in enhancing the story and our main characters. There were few people he would ever really know, see as they were and not through a hundred different filters of perception. When he touched Freddy, when he looked into her eyes, he felt as if he was starting to see her. It was sexual, it was physical, but it was also the tentative stirring of a connection that he couldn’t explain, couldn’t put into words even in his own mind. As I mentioned, the outside events of Jamie having some family and financial struggles, Freddy straining against her dad's wants for her in favor of her own, the live play production, co-actor villain, and the family legacy drama, sometimes took time away from Freddy and Jamie. However, these two bonded together beautifully and Jamie gives one of the best declaration/love speech I have read; the truth in it outshone any sexy, sappy, or overly sweet speech we otherwise may have gotten. These two got each other and I reveled in how they spoke to each other and bonded.I also loved how Jamie's relationship with his brother Charlie played out on page and how Freddy and her sister went through their ups and downs together. I thought Freddy's relationship arc with her dad was given a bit of an easy ending, there was a lot to wrap-up at the ending and I think this got shortchanged a bit. The author seemed to be teasing future books with Freddy's sister and a professional rival (the rival's ticking jaw during their live broadcast, y'all) that I will be showing up with bells on for. She pressed her palm to his cheek. “You make me feel equal,” she murmured slowly, and he rested his forehead on hers. This author has a writing style and tone that sucks me into her worlds and makes me believe in and feel her characters, I highly recommend her and this series. I did think at times the romance between the leads was overshadowed a bit at times but I enjoyed what was doing the overshadowing, part of the family legacy drama involved a secret forgotten romance (Violet and William) that had my eyes watering. If looking for a contemporary romance to sink into, this book and series will have you lost in the characters and world.
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  • nick
    January 1, 1970
    The Austen Playbook was my most anticipated spring read. I love Lucy Parker and her books - I re-read them ALL the time. The Austen Playbook also happens to feature her perky heroine and a grumpy hero, so I knew this one was going to be spectacular. Lucy Parker never disappoints and The Austen Playbook was just as brilliant as I expected it to be. Freddy was a girl after my own heart. She was just sunshine and rainbows and I adored her. She had a very optimistic perspective of life which was ver The Austen Playbook was my most anticipated spring read. I love Lucy Parker and her books - I re-read them ALL the time. The Austen Playbook also happens to feature her perky heroine and a grumpy hero, so I knew this one was going to be spectacular. Lucy Parker never disappoints and The Austen Playbook was just as brilliant as I expected it to be. Freddy was a girl after my own heart. She was just sunshine and rainbows and I adored her. She had a very optimistic perspective of life which was very refreshing. Freddy was a hard worker stuck doing work that didn't fit her aspirations due to family pressure. Freddy rose to fame playing roles in comedies, but at the insistence of her father, she has taken on more roles in dramas. The only problem is that Freddy isn't particularly enjoying the roles she has undertaken. Despite her lack of passion for these roles, she remained such genuine and she had the loveliest personality. We see much growth from her in The Austen Playbook as she tries to reach out to her father so that she could chase after her actual dreams. I was a proud mama bear when she finally took that leap. Freddy is invited to be part of a live-action play for which rehearsals are to take place at Griff's mansion. Ahh, Griff! He was the absolute contrast of Freddy at first glance. He was an icy, grumpy critic who had no time for the bubbly creature that was Freddy. He was very serious and staunch, and obviously, that was catnip for me because I wound up falling for him very hard. Lucy Parker has the talent to make the most unappealing characters dreamy and after all these books, I'm still in awe. Griff was a total grump and I loved that for all his grumpy exterior, he was actually a very loyal and protective guy. Freddy and Griff's pairing felt so natural. They've known about each other for a while since Griff has reviewed some of Freddy's works, but they've never had an actual conversation. Freddy doesn't view him all that positively since she overhears him saying some not-so-lovely things about her acting chops at a bar. Griff thinks she's too spritely and is very confused by her. All that changes when they are forced to interact in the English countryside at Griff's family home. Freddy and Griff shared amazing chemistry, but what got me invested in their relationship were the little moments when they opened up to each other. There were this comfort-level and honesty to their relationship that I was envious of, and I thought they brought out the best in each other. Of course, Lucy Parker writes some of the most delicious kisses. Don't even get me started on the soft intimate moments. They are catnip for any romance reader, but especially to THIS romance reader! Freddy and Griff truly were an iconic duo that had my shipper heart overjoyed. Besides the romance, I found myself being enthralled by the behind-the-scenes of the very cool interactive play, as well as the mystery surrounding Freddy's late grandmother. The whole secondary cast was also brilliant. I loved getting to know Sabrina, Freddy's sister, who is getting her book next. Also, I can't wait for you guys to meet Nick, who is my namesake! When Lucy mentioned a few months back that I (and Lisa & Maf) could look forward to seeing our names being in the book, I was sort of speechless and may have screamed. Nick (the character) was quite something (he's as rude as me lol), BUT he is the hero in the next book, so I look forward to his redemption. :) I'm not sure how Lucy Parker keeps outdoing herself with her couples and her books. She is one of the best contemporary authors and I look forward to reading even more of her excellent novels. If you haven't had the chance to pick up her stories yet, please remedy that. She is sure to charm you with her witty and romantic stories.
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  • Jacob Proffitt
    January 1, 1970
    This is fourth in a series, but they are barely related at all so reading out of order works just fine, I think. Probably.I fell for Freddy and Griff hard. I love it when the main couple are just so right for each other and when each needs something the other gives them. I particularly loved how well Freddy was able to roll with Griff's professional criticisms without letting it sour her interactions with him—probably because it's the kind of thing I work towards in my relationship with Melissa This is fourth in a series, but they are barely related at all so reading out of order works just fine, I think. Probably.I fell for Freddy and Griff hard. I love it when the main couple are just so right for each other and when each needs something the other gives them. I particularly loved how well Freddy was able to roll with Griff's professional criticisms without letting it sour her interactions with him—probably because it's the kind of thing I work towards in my relationship with Melissa where we strive for honest feedback on our respective artistic endeavors. I was relieved when Freddy wasn't solely the upbeat pixie optimist and that she was able to be her most authentic self with Griff and admit that what she loves about acting is making people happy and she'd just as soon leave the serious drama to others.If this were just them, it would have been an easy five-star story. Unfortunately, there were two elements that I really hated and both had more impact than they should have due to authorial fiat. Sadie as antagonist was unimaginably awful. She has no visible motivation beyond being as mean as possible to as many people as possible. She has zero empathy and no boundaries and a person like that just doesn't work, particularly when her actions directly undermine the project she shares with everyone else in the story. And that's before you get to the author making her oddly effective by putting her in position to learn all the deepest secrets without even trying. It'd be like having Maid Marion running around stabbing all of Robin's merry men in the middle of dinner and nobody being willing or able to stop her because she's pretty. Or something. It's not like she's subtle or sneaky, she's just mean.The second element I hated was all of the parents. They're adults for heaven's sake and they're doing their best to undermine their children by careless pursuit of their own desires. Griff's parents were particularly galling with their hazily casual assumption that it'd all work out despite every extravagant expense and scheduling major disruptions during projects they knew were important to him. Their selfish idiocy got on my last nerve even before the author stepped in and (view spoiler)[made their idiocy the solution to every problem. It was bad enough when their construction lead to the ham-handed proof of the mystery (which Freddy had already solved and Griff was well on his way to figuring out). But when their stupid fairy village proved the solution to Freddy's professional disappointment I wanted to drive over and do an impromptu Attack of the Fifty-Foot Review Nerd and stomp all over the place (hide spoiler)]. So the author completely validates every stupid, selfish thing Griff's parents perpetrated and I hated everybody and every thing for a while there.I did enjoy the mystery, though. It's tough to make a delve into the past present and important, but I liked how well Parker wove their discovery of their ancestors into the plot. I loved how it connected them and I particularly liked how it highlighted Griff's understanding of Freddy's character when he just knew she couldn't sit on that past injustice because it would gnaw at her forever. So they were their best team selves, even when acting alone and (temporarily) at cross purposes. Yeah, I'm a sucker for righting wrongs but I really enjoyed the depth of that plot and how caring about those revelations served to reveal the strength and depth of their burgeoning relationship.So this is 3½ stars that I'm rounding (generously) up. Because Griff and Freddy are just that awesome and I enjoyed their relationship very much.A note about Steamy: There are a couple of explicit sex scenes putting this in the middle of my steam tolerance. But they were fantastic! And I don't mean because they were all romancy and stuff. Indeed, they're the most realistic sex scenes I've read. Probably ever. I liked that it wasn't all smooth sailing and that it worked mostly because they talked things out and each did their best for the other. And I just love, loved that they had to admit that shower sex requires technique that they didn't possess. I laughed out loud and am smirking again with the recall.
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  • Joanna Loves Reading
    January 1, 1970
    4.5 Stars in a top-notch addition to a lovely series. The only reason I am not rounding up is I felt less sold on the chemistry between the two leads. I really liked them together. I thought they made sense and complimented each other in a supportive and necessary ways, but they didn’t sizzle as much as I thought they would. I also thought the villain a bit too vicious and self-serving.Each of the books in this series are a variation of an enemies-to-lover or opposites-attract trope. This is no 4.5 Stars in a top-notch addition to a lovely series. The only reason I am not rounding up is I felt less sold on the chemistry between the two leads. I really liked them together. I thought they made sense and complimented each other in a supportive and necessary ways, but they didn’t sizzle as much as I thought they would. I also thought the villain a bit too vicious and self-serving.Each of the books in this series are a variation of an enemies-to-lover or opposites-attract trope. This is no exception. Freddy is a stage actor, who has been getting tired of the dramatic roles she’s been playing, and Griff is a critic who has had some harsh critiques about Freddy’s recent performances. They are also part of two families that have history. Freddy’s infamous and revered grandmother, who was a well-known actress and author, had a notorious affair with Griff’s grandfather, who built her a theater on the same estate that housed his wife and kids. Despite their opposing sides, they seem to like each other at the beginning and accept that the jobs are not the sum total of the person. I liked how that was not a big obstacle for them.Circumstances throw them together when Freddy signs on to the production of an Austen-inspired Murder Mystery that was to be performed and filmed from that theater built for her grandma on Griff’s estate. The estate badly needs a cash infusion for upkeep and repairs. When they keep running into each other, they find they share a mutual attraction and a desire to understand their shared history better.The characters in this were lovely. Both Freddy and Griff were well-meaning with demons to conquer. They both had unsupportive family situations, with self-centered, unreliable parents. They found in each other the support and strength they needed that had been lacking in their lives. This was a true highlight of the book for me. The subplot as they unravel hidden mysteries from their shared history was also very intriguing.Overall, I really enjoyed this read/listen (I alternated). I think the second is still my favorite, but this is a close second. I definitely recommend and look forward to rereading some day. *I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Bookphenomena (Micky)
    January 1, 1970
    Delightful and witty with a great story to keep the reader fully engaged, THE AUSTEN PLAYBOOK continued the series with the same quality of writing and development of characters that I have come to expect from Lucy Parker.Book four took the setting outside of London to Grumpy Griff’s (Ford-Griffen) country seat. Griff was a TV/stage critic whilst managing the failing finances of his family’s home. Griff had thrown a few review punches at Freddy, the quirky heroine, in the past. Freddy was a brea Delightful and witty with a great story to keep the reader fully engaged, THE AUSTEN PLAYBOOK continued the series with the same quality of writing and development of characters that I have come to expect from Lucy Parker.Book four took the setting outside of London to Grumpy Griff’s (Ford-Griffen) country seat. Griff was a TV/stage critic whilst managing the failing finances of his family’s home. Griff had thrown a few review punches at Freddy, the quirky heroine, in the past. Freddy was a breath of positive fresh air with some vulnerabilities hidden behind the ‘everything will be okay’ facade. I took to her immediately. “He was frequently rude, definitely a Slytherin, and clearly viewed her as a sort of irritating insect who kept buzzing around his space, but there was something very reassuring about his solid warmth when she hurt.”There was an interwoven backstory behind the main story of a play in the country. Freddy and Griff were thrown into each other’s paths and there was a persistent, bubbling chemistry between them. I had all the feelings when they were interacting, either with looks or banter. “It was more than physical; it was a building and layering of a bond that went much deeper than that.”As well as the clever backstory (which Parker conveys with ease), there were a literal cast of side characters, brothers, mean girls, fathers, colleagues and sisters. There is something about the acting world on stage that Lucy Parker translates so well to the reader. The English setting was spot on as always with dialogue, colloquialisms and contexts. The banter and dialogue were engaging. My only little niggle was the unstated dual POV, I loved the dual POV but had ‘who is this’ moments, however I did settle into it.I can’t recommend this series enough and the best thing is they standalone, you can dip your toe into any of them and read out of order if that’s how you roll. Go discover Lucy Parker and you won’t regret it.I voluntarily read an early copy of this book.
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  • Mara
    January 1, 1970
    4.5 stars -- I don't think I have the right words to sufficiently communicate how DELIGHTFUL this is. Ugh. These humans are impossibly adorable together, there's a "we're putting on a show trope" at an English country estate with a Jane Austen murder mystery play, and a past mystery that they're solving. GUYS. This was written for me. Also there's one of the most romantic scenes of all time ever. Loved this - best romance I've read in quite some time. I'm not sure if I like this or ACT LIKE IT b 4.5 stars -- I don't think I have the right words to sufficiently communicate how DELIGHTFUL this is. Ugh. These humans are impossibly adorable together, there's a "we're putting on a show trope" at an English country estate with a Jane Austen murder mystery play, and a past mystery that they're solving. GUYS. This was written for me. Also there's one of the most romantic scenes of all time ever. Loved this - best romance I've read in quite some time. I'm not sure if I like this or ACT LIKE IT better, but it's close
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  • ♥ℳelody
    January 1, 1970
    Yasssss! Gimme some more Lucy Parker goodness! 🙌👏👏
  • Mellie Antoinette
    January 1, 1970
    ***#earc thanks to #netgalley for a fair review***Hello, James Ford-Griffin, you sexy, sessy Richard Armitage-like beast of wonderment. You, my fictional friend, do not exist in real life. Nope, they don’t make ‘em like you! That was really all I took away from this Austen inspired dramarom. It had a good villainous vixen, several subplots to keep things moving, and Freddy as our charactress was captivating in the sense that she made a wonderful foil for Griff, but ultimately, like any good Aust ***#earc thanks to #netgalley for a fair review***Hello, James Ford-Griffin, you sexy, sessy Richard Armitage-like beast of wonderment. You, my fictional friend, do not exist in real life. Nope, they don’t make ‘em like you! That was really all I took away from this Austen inspired dramarom. It had a good villainous vixen, several subplots to keep things moving, and Freddy as our charactress was captivating in the sense that she made a wonderful foil for Griff, but ultimately, like any good Austenesque, this was all about the Knightley in shining Darcy-mor! ;0) 3.5 ✨
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  • Anna Banana
    January 1, 1970
    4.5 starsThis may be my favorite of the series thus far! If there's one thing I love about this series it's how original it is. I can't think of any other romance series or book that centers on London theatre, celebrities and the world of drama they live in. Each book in this series has brought it's own story and trope and I love that even though the author relies on tropes for the romance, she always has her own original twist to it. In this book, we focus on two character who could not be more 4.5 starsThis may be my favorite of the series thus far! If there's one thing I love about this series it's how original it is. I can't think of any other romance series or book that centers on London theatre, celebrities and the world of drama they live in. Each book in this series has brought it's own story and trope and I love that even though the author relies on tropes for the romance, she always has her own original twist to it. In this book, we focus on two character who could not be more opposite. Freddy is optimistic, always smiling and tries to never lets anything get to her. Griff on the other hand probably hasn't smiled since before he left the womb, is snarky, sarcastic and just a plain "gloomy cloud" of a guy. He's also said some not so nice things about Freddy and her acting in his critic reviews and Freddy not being affected by them only seems to make him more sardonic than usual. The author refers to them multiple times as the slyther-puff duo and it really does explain them well. This book is a mixture of drama, swoon romance and great friendships (and relationships in general) that are not perfect but complicated in a way that we can all relate to. I am a little miffed that some characters that I do NOT like don't get the karma I think they deserve but hopefully we'll see them get in in a different book. My main reasoning for 4.5 (leaning more towards 4) star rating was that:1. I felt like we were thrown into their relationship and there really wasn't much buildup. Yes I think they are adorable together but it was like one minute they were acquaintances who knew barely knew each other and the next they're into each other? It kind of threw me through a loop a bit. I just need a bit more tension, a few more scenes of them talking and just interacting togethers, showcasing their underlying chemistry before the feelings emerged. 2. Around 70% I started to lose a bit interest. There was just so much happening but my main focus was on the romance and perhaps it was because the angst and drama was stressing me out because I needed to know how things would work out, but I found myself wanting to skim just to get to the end so I could know how things turned out. Overall, this was a winner in my book and I cannot wait to see who the next book will be about! I have a feeling Sabrina and Nick could make a great book and even though I feel iffy about how things ended for Maya, I wouldn't mind seeing her get a book as well. If you're a fan of this series, you won't be disappointed. And if you haven't started this series yet, well, what are you waiting for?! Jump in!*Arc given in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!
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  • Cyndi
    January 1, 1970
    I would like to pull stars from the sky to add. This book is AWESOME! Some writers excel at writing romances, and that would be Lucy Parker! If you love a good story with strong characters don’t skip this author! Our heroine is an actress with a well established stage career. (Don’t you love a heroine who has her act together?) Although she’s doing well as an actress in dramas her heart belongs to comedy. But how to tell her manager/father that his dreams for her carrying on in his famous mother I would like to pull stars from the sky to add. This book is AWESOME! Some writers excel at writing romances, and that would be Lucy Parker! If you love a good story with strong characters don’t skip this author! Our heroine is an actress with a well established stage career. (Don’t you love a heroine who has her act together?) Although she’s doing well as an actress in dramas her heart belongs to comedy. But how to tell her manager/father that his dreams for her carrying on in his famous mother’s stage career is not quite her cup of tea without disappointing him? Our hero is a theater critic. But in the classic way of brilliant writers (and that includes Lucy Parker) there are so many more nuances to him. He is also ‘the responsible one’ in his family. His parents and younger brother are dreamers who rely in him to keep them and their crumbling mansion together. Enter his brother’s latest get rich scheme: The Austen Playbook. (It’s actually brilliant) The outdoor stage their grandfather built for his mistress (who just happened to be our heroine’s famous grandmother) will be remodeled and used for a live tv broadcast. Now, get this. You will love it and yearn to watch this show. All the major characters in Jane Austen’s books are together in a ‘who-done-it?’ One of the characters is killed off (the viewers choose which one with an app on their phones) and then the story progresses with discovering the murderer. Brilliant! Right? And that is just one of the twists in this brilliant book. Give yourself time because you won’t want to put this down. You will adore the characters, plot and settings. Excellent book!!
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  • Jess
    January 1, 1970
    This book is like a long sexy hug and I very much enjoyed reading it.
  • Antonella
    January 1, 1970
    THE AUSTEN PLAYBOOK, forth book in London Celebrities series, can be read as standalone and out of reading order when you, if this is your first Lucy Parker's book, decide to read more of her previous books. This is a feelgood romance novel about stage actress Frederica "Freddy" Carlton and tv producer and critic James "Griff" Ford Griffin. Their love story blossoms in English countryside while Freddy is performing an Austen who-did-it live televised play filled with Jane Austen's character on G THE AUSTEN PLAYBOOK, forth book in London Celebrities series, can be read as standalone and out of reading order when you, if this is your first Lucy Parker's book, decide to read more of her previous books. This is a feelgood romance novel about stage actress Frederica "Freddy" Carlton and tv producer and critic James "Griff" Ford Griffin. Their love story blossoms in English countryside while Freddy is performing an Austen who-did-it live televised play filled with Jane Austen's character on Griff's family estate. Even though they "knew" of each other before and met briefly the couple shares rather complicated and personal family history. That is also a mystery that is a major plot line as we together with our leading couple discover more about it. Freddy and Griff are at first very opposite characters. They even are unique in their family as such. Freddy is a dreamer in a family of cold overachievers and Griff is a serious and logical in family full of idealist. When I say they are at first opposite I mean they stay that trough out the book but as their character met and fall in love we see their connection and that each brings from the other the best. They complete each other. Freddy's vivacious personality melts Griff's stern views on world and even helps mend his relationship with his brother. One the other hand Griff's not caring what people think trait rubs off on Freddy and helps her to finally take what she wants out life, her family and career. "If I end up getting hurt, I would still never regret falling for him. I’m not going to hold back on investing in him just because there are no guarantees in life.” We met Freddy in previous books as side character and off course I was excited to read her story. But as always this author blows my expectation and shows me depth that is her character. She is more then bubbly girl we learned to love. That is one of many great parts I love about Lucy's books. Her talent to write amazingly, lively and intriguing characters. Dynamic between characters that shows us complicated friends and family relationships is something that will grip you in this seemingly light read and keep you turning the pages. I loved main love story between Freddy and Gliff but I equally enjoyed in Charlie's coming to his own, Sabrina's redemption and Freddy's part with restoring her bond with her father. I really enjoyed in steamy parts of this book as writing was superb and palpable but I have to say what really won me over were small emotional moments between protagonists and their family. There is a lot of fictional things that author came with that just blows me away. The whole Austen Playbook, group of people and book mention in it. This is a perfect read for all of you who love their romance novels written with real and complex characters all while the naughty parts are left in it. Lucy Parker is auto buy for me. And I have read many, many romance books so when I find someone who writes so good as she does I like to spreed the word. I have all of her books in paperback on my shelves. And never mind the fact that I received this as ARC I will buy this book in physical form. I love how she writes simplicity of a kiss or an embrace with such a feel of never ending tangible emotion. "It was like plunging headfirst into a hot spring, enveloping heat and a rush of physical sensation that was almost suffocating in its intensity. Wrapping his hand into the frizzy tangle of curls at the back of her neck, Griff held her in the shelter of his arm and she curved her body, angling perfectly so they came together like a couple of puzzle."" "The second kiss was a rush of heat, urgent and hard, his tongue in her mouth, hers in his, wetness and fire. His hands had left hers and were tangled in her hair, holding her head; her arms were around him, sliding up his back. She could feel his skin, smooth and warm. Muscles moving and shifting. Breaths jagged and snatched." I always have smile on my face while reading Lucy's books. . I highly recommend this opposite attract with grown up Hermoine and Draco romance. Happy reading!!! *Thanks to NetGalley for the copy of the book in exchange for my honest reviewCheck my Pinterst board for some images; https://www.pinterest.com/antoneladre...
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  • Cyndi
    January 1, 1970
    I would like to pull stars from the sky to add. This book is AWESOME! Some writers excel at writing romances, and that would be Lucy Parker! If you love a good story with strong characters don’t skip this author! Our heroine is an actress with a well established stage career. (Don’t you love a heroine who has her act together?) Although she’s doing well as an actress in dramas her heart belongs to comedy. But how to tell her manager/father that his dreams for her carrying on in his famous mothe I would like to pull stars from the sky to add. This book is AWESOME! Some writers excel at writing romances, and that would be Lucy Parker! If you love a good story with strong characters don’t skip this author! Our heroine is an actress with a well established stage career. (Don’t you love a heroine who has her act together?) Although she’s doing well as an actress in dramas her heart belongs to comedy. But how to tell her manager/father that his dreams for her carrying on in his famous mother’s stage career is not quite her cup of tea without disappointing him? Our hero is a theater critic. But in the classic way of brilliant writers (and that includes Lucy Parker) there are so many more nuances to him. He is also ‘the responsible one’ in his family. His parents and younger brother are dreamers who rely in him to keep them and their crumbling mansion together. Enter his brother’s latest get rich scheme: The Austen Playbook. (It’s actually brilliant) The outdoor stage their grandfather built for his mistress (who just happened to be our heroine’s famous grandmother) will be remodeled and used for a live tv broadcast. Now, get this. You will love it and yearn to watch this show. All the major characters in Jane Austen’s books are together in a ‘who-done-it?’ One of the characters is killed off (the viewers choose which one with an app on their phones) and then the story progresses with discovering the murderer. Brilliant! Right? And that is just one of the twists in this brilliant book. Give yourself time because you won’t want to put this down. You will adore the characters, plot and settings. Excellent book!!!
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  • *The Angry Reader*
    January 1, 1970
    ***ARC received for an honest review***I like Lucy Parker. I can depend on her for solid contemporary romance. And let’s be honest - I can’t say that about many authors. I like her funny, feminine, struggling heroines and broody-yet-terribly romantic heroes. She’s created an interesting and realistic world around the London theatre. And each time I’m pulled completely in to a lifestyle I know nothing about and normally wouldn’t interest me. Griff and Freddy have a solid backstory. A good reason ***ARC received for an honest review***I like Lucy Parker. I can depend on her for solid contemporary romance. And let’s be honest - I can’t say that about many authors. I like her funny, feminine, struggling heroines and broody-yet-terribly romantic heroes. She’s created an interesting and realistic world around the London theatre. And each time I’m pulled completely in to a lifestyle I know nothing about and normally wouldn’t interest me. Griff and Freddy have a solid backstory. A good reason not to like one another. A grudging mutual respect. He was a fun grump. She was spritely without being foolish. I found their family history and the way it tumbled into their romance entertaining and fun. Their were a lot of characters - not unusual for a Parker. I found myself more curious about them than about Griff and Freddy at times. But that didn’t diminish my enjoyment. I did have some hesitation with the progression of Griff and Freddy’s romantic relationship. It seemingly sprung from nowhere. It was intense - which was fine - except even Griff and Freddy kept talking about the suddenness with which the emotion had developed. And the possibility that it was a flash in the pan. Not the most romantic thing in the world. There are two characters from this story that I’m really hoping find love in upcoming books. (Not with one another). I look forward to more excellent story telling from Ms Parker. She hasn’t let me down yet.
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  • Hannah
    January 1, 1970
    I just love this series. They are cute and fun and just so very lovely.
  • Aarya Marsden
    January 1, 1970
    Link to Live-Tweeting Thread: https://twitter.com/Aarya_Marsden/sta...I loved this book. I loved this book so much that even though I normally divide my long reviews into "Things I Liked" and "Things I Didn't Like," this review is basically going to be one long gush-fest. You have been warned. As I told someone, my secret conspiracy theory is that this book was manufactured in an Aarya factory to give me all my favorite things. I'm also pretty sure that THE AUSTEN PLAYBOOK just dethroned PRETTY Link to Live-Tweeting Thread: https://twitter.com/Aarya_Marsden/sta...I loved this book. I loved this book so much that even though I normally divide my long reviews into "Things I Liked" and "Things I Didn't Like," this review is basically going to be one long gush-fest. You have been warned. As I told someone, my secret conspiracy theory is that this book was manufactured in an Aarya factory to give me all my favorite things. I'm also pretty sure that THE AUSTEN PLAYBOOK just dethroned PRETTY FACE as my favorite London Celebrities book. TL;DR (since some people don't read long reviews and want a basic idea of the book): - Quite possibly the best Meet-Disaster™ I've ever read. Move over, meet-cutes. - A delightful play within a play (or in this case: a choose-your-own-adventure-Austen-retelling-TV-extravaganza within a crumbling British estate within a romance novel). Yes, I give you permission to exit the review and one-click the book. - Slytherin/Hufflepuff matchup. The hero has pale blonde hair. Hello, Tom Felton. - An ICY Grumpy Hero. - A heroine who can be described as a contagious joy fairy. I'm a cynical witch, and Freddy was able to infect joy even in me. - Less-Murder-More-Mystery Contemporary House Party™. The trope I never knew existed but is all I want now.- Incredibly witty and memorable prose- Scandalous family secrets coming to light. There's more family drama than a soap opera like Knightsbridge (eagle-eyed London Celebrities fans will notice the reference). Um. This turned out to be less "TL;DR" than I thought. I'll begin my gushing from now on (warning for mild spoilers, but I don't really reveal anything beyond the premise/blurb). I'm terrible at review organization, so I'm just going to take each of the above TL;DR points and write about it. Sorry for the lack of structure!- Quite possibly the best Meet-Disaster™ I've ever read. Honestly, I don't know why rom-coms are obsessed with meet-cutes. Meet-Disasters™ (not sure if I coined this term, but nothing came up when I googled it) are so much more fun and have potential for witty banter. And in my opinion, all the best romantic stories have them: Pride and Prejudice, When Harry Met Sally, and so on. This Meet-Disaster™ worked effectively in two ways: 1) it was a delightful homage to Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice and 2) it reminded me of why the HEA Rule in Romance is freaking awesome. Some background before I confuse you: Frederica Carlton is a veteran West End performer. Her family has been involved in West End for the past 400 years, and her grandmother Henrietta Carlton is a famous playwright and actress. Henrietta Carlton wrote The Velvet Room, one of the most (fictional) important British dramas in the last century. As you might guess, Freddy has large shoes to fill. In her teen years, she primarily performed in comedies and musicals, but has recently been pursuing more serious dramas at the command of her dictatorial manager-slash-father encouragement of her father. Unfortunately, she's been miserable with her professional career lately and it shows. Freddy is a Contagious Joy Fairy™ and she'd much rather be waltzing into puddles in Singin' in the Rain than delivering monologues about the misery of the human condition. As someone who refuses to watch miserable Oscar-bait movies and watches movie musicals at least once a week, I'm much inclined to see things from her point-of-view. “I like rom-coms, and physical comedy, and all of these so-called frivolous scripts. Giving people a good time, making them happy, letting them escape for a while—that’s what I think is worthwhile.”James Ford-Griffin is a scathing theater critic for The Westminster Post, has a doctorate (I think he's a historian?), and is working on his own Henrietta biopic. Fun fact: Both Griff and Freddy's respective grandparents (Sir George Ford and Henrietta Carlton) engaged in an extramarital affair with each other decades ago. The affair ended mysteriously after two years, and Henrietta was inspired by her Famed Romance to write The Velvet Room. Sir George actually built a theater called The Henry in his country estate Highbrook. Griff and Freddy have never officially met, but they know of each other: Griff from Freddy's West End performances, Freddy from Griff's unflattering and negative reviews of her performances. Yep. It's exactly as wonderful as it sounds. Anyway, back to the Meet-Disaster™: I said that 1) it was a delightful homage to Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice and 2) it reminded me of why the HEA Rule in Romance is freaking awesome. I'm not actually the biggest fan of Austen retellings for a variety of reasons, but I LOVE Austen-inspired allusions and homages in books like Austenland by Shannon Hale. This qualifies as a Meet-Disaster™ because Freddy is moping about her bad opening performance in a pub with her sister and friend. Suddenly, she overhears someone in the next booth discussing her performance that night. “She’s an overexposed, chronically confused crowd-pleaser, who’s built a career riding on her family’s coattails. A twirl through her grandmother’s work was inevitable, and unfortunately this is probably a practice run.”If this doesn't give Darcy's "She is tolerable; but not handsome enough to tempt me" a run for its money in "I'm going to criticize my future love but I don't know she's eavesdropping," than I don't know what does. Obviously, this is very exciting for the reader because it promises hilarity and conflict. But I love it for another reason: this book is a great example of how “the HEA is restrictive and makes romance novels predictable” argument is utter bullshit. Guess what? I’m shocked and excited for the book. Because how on earth is the hero going to recover from this? I’m on chapter one. I know this book will end in a HEA. And I’m now utterly delighted and nervous about this book - I don’t know how they’re going to reach that HEA and I can’t wait to find out. The stakes are high and I’m literally quivering in anticipation. There’s nothing predictable or restrictive here. And if the author does a good job, then I’ll be completely convinced in their love for each other by the end of the book (and I am). Which is a near-miracle considering the Meet-Disaster™ and how badly Griff puts his foot in his mouth. - A delightful play within a play (or in this case: a choose-your-own-adventure-Austen-retelling-TV-extravaganza within a crumbling British estate within a romance novel). The less I say about this, the better because you can discover how delightful this is. It takes place in Griff's crumbling estate (his brother created this far-fetched scheme to bring in some money so that they don't lose the estate). Just picture lots of drama (both on and off the screen), a script rivaling the likes of War and Peace, and interesting (read: bitchy and egotistical) costars. For fans of other London Celebrity books, you'll see familiar faces. For now, I'll leave you with this delightful description: “Digital mash-up of characters from different Jane Austen books, transplanted into a murder-mystery, house-party scenario. Outcome guided by the choices of the player.”Listen, TV networks? I don't want a live-action musical of Hair or The Music Man or whatever. I want this. Get your writers and producers on this ASAP, and I guarantee you'll make a mint. - Slytherin/Hufflepuff matchup. So this is not something that I just made up. There are continuous references (mostly by Freddy) to the fact that Griff is a Slytherin and Freddy is a Hufflepuff. “Short-haired Lucius Malfoy. Tall. Sarcastic. Ice-blond hair. Ice in general.”I have a secret theory that some Harry Potter matchups are better than others. OF COURSE they're all good to some level, but I have a special love for Slytherin/Hufflepuff, Gryffindor/Slytherin, and Slytherin/Ravenclaw. I think Slytherin/Hufflepuff works particularly well because the Slytherin is continuously bemused and disconcerted by the Hufflepuff. Their usual icy veneer of cynicism just bounces off a wall of warmth and affection. They can't believe that someone so good could ever love their guarded and glacial heart. “You’re such a...fundamentally positive person,” he said, as if he were accusing her of a mortal sin.And when they do realize it (it takes them a while but the fall is so worth it), they'll move heaven and earth to protect their Hufflepuff. Occasionally, Slytherins are a bit idiotic when underestimating their Hufflepuffs, but I usually give them a pass because they have such a large capacity for protective love. I think giving Freddy Hufflepuff qualities is a stroke of genius. With the Meet-Disaster™ setup, you might assume that the text is going toward the Enemies-to-Lovers trope. Nope. This is not Elizabeth and Darcy. It works so well because Freddy just laughs it off and is basically like: "It's his [Griff's] job to write scathing reviews and they're true and funny. I'm not personally offended by his comments on my acting - that's his job, and he is right!"This is just so refreshing. I love Enemies-to-Lovers, but it's a bit exhausting to read because the couple snipe at each other so much that you're left wondering if their HEA is real. Here, Freddy is so easy-going and affectionate that Griff never stands a chance. There's never any antagonism, just Freddy tweaking at Griff's nose. It's just plain fun for the reader: their personalities provide hilarious fodder for witty banter. There's also a level of irony present. Griff is a Slytherin in a family of Hufflepuffs (his family's a piece of work; his parents recklessly and dreamily waste away money on creative endeavors while Griff mortgages his home to save the estate). Freddy is a Hufflepuff in a family of Slytherins (interestingly enough, while both her sister Sabrina and her father have very different personalities, I'd classify both as Slytherin). At one point, Griff morosely thinks that his brother Charlie would be a much better fit for Freddy. It's a natural assumption and I completely disagree with him. Freddy and Griff balance and complement each other on every level. I'll leave you with this delightful quote:“As [redacted] would say, we’ll have to get our Slytherin on.”🐍🐍🐍🐍- An ICY Grumpy Hero and a heroine who can be described as a contagious joy fairy. I'm about to spit some science here. This is a variation on the Grumpy Hero. Think of it scientifically: if Grumpy Hero is the genus, then ICY Grumpy Hero is the species. I've never taken any biology beyond high school so don't criticize my potentially inaccurate analogies! But you get my gist. Basically, if you love grumpy heroes, then this variation is EVEN BETTER. Unfortunately for Griff (or fortunately, depending on how you look at it), the most determined of Contagious Joy Fairies have the power to melt ice. The ice doesn't entirely disappear, but Griff is helpless when loving Freddy. And who wouldn't be, when she's so determined to look for and appreciate the best things in life?“Parts of life are shit enough. I look for the light where I can find it.”- Less-Murder-More-Mystery Contemporary House Party™ I don't know how most people feel about murder mysteries and house parties, but they're literally my favorite things to read about in a romance. I've specifically asked for this combination (a romantic mystery in a house party) many times. It usually contains a house full of guests, various suspects, and a strong romantic element. One of my favorite historicals is A RAKE'S VOW by Stephanie Laurens because of this very trope. I think this works so well because it's a real-life version of the board game Clue. A house full of guests? Check. Everyone has a very clearly defined but nuanced personality, including out-for-evil actress Sadie Foster (playing Emma Woodhouse), sweet and shy Maya Dutta (playing Elizabeth Bennet), sex-obsessed Dylan Waitely (playing Mr. Darcy), all-around-prat-and-Sabrina's-weakness Joe Ferren (playing Mr. Knightley), affable and loyal Charlie Ford-Griffin, the artistic and flighty Ford-Griffin parents who create wildly expensive doll house miniatures, and more. I was continuously delighted by everyone and their (often disastrous) interactions. And what I described for each character isn't the entirety of their personality. Everyone continuously surprised me with hidden depths throughout the novel (I'm looking at you, Dylan Waitely). I love it when minor characters aren't one-note. Various suspects? Kind of. There's no active crime, but a lot of sleuthing into historical sources. I will say that even with the lack of an ongoing mystery, there is so much drama and shocking secrets within the estate that it *feels* like everyone is a suspect for an unknown secret/"crime." No one can be trusted!Strong romantic element? Check, check, check. This book isn't exactly a murder mystery house party, which is why I've classified it as Less-Murder-More-Mystery Contemporary House Party™. I'm very good at coming up with names for obscure tropes! - Incredibly witty and memorable proseI'm not a writer and can't even begin to understand the mechanics of writing. As a reader, all I can do is say "this prose worked for me" and "this prose didn't." It varies from reader to reader. Sometimes it feels stilted and forced, sometimes it feels like I'm standing next to the characters and watching them with my own eyes. Lucy Parker is perhaps the most talented comedic/romantic prose writer I've ever read. This is not hyperbole. I usually highlight memorable lines as I read. I had to stop doing this 10% in because I was highlighting everything. When people say that writing style seems "effortless," it's a disingenuous statement because nothing about writing is effortless. Every line is carefully constructed and woven together to create the most impactful effect for the reader. It feels seamless, but only because the author has poured months of time/energy to make it feel that way. I normally can read a 100k book in three hours. This took about eight hours, mostly because I'd often reread a page as soon as I read it. Every pause, break in dialogue, change in POV, and inner monologue is carefully constructed to deliver the highest level of emotion to the reader. Sometimes it's humor, sometimes it's anticipation, and sometimes it's a sense of foreboding. I'm not describing it very well, mostly because I don't know enough about writing mechanics to explain it. A book can convey emotions outside of the plot: the writing style (semantics and syntax) is an additional tool to wield that emotion and make the reader feel. Since I'm having trouble describing it, I'm going to provide a few examples so that you understand:“His tone conjured images of empty chocolate boxes, and the aftermath of a party, and missing the bus by thirty seconds, and all of life’s fleeting moments of gloom.”“She could almost see him saying it, with the same expression he wore when discussing Elizabethan tragedy. The man looked like an assassin in a war film, and would be temperamentally suited to the part. He probably even orgasmed with a frosty stare off into the middle distance.”“His eyes were dreamy as his mind wandered off into that rosy future, where the estate wasn’t a crumbling, fund-draining millstone around their necks, and pigs flew over the heads of frolicking unicorns.”It's not often that I can specifically single out the prose as a reason for my love (I normally focus on characterization and plots), but the wonderful prose is at least 50% of the reason of why I love this book. Freddy and Griff are 70% and the mystery plot is like 25%. Hey, I never said it had to add up to a 100! :P- Scandalous family secrets coming to light. This is not a spoiler as it's in the blurb. I'm not going to comment on this because I think the mystery element should remain a secret, but it is SO WELL DONE. I'm generally very good at predicting mysteries, and even I only predicted about 60% of the final reveal. I think a good mystery element is difficult to write because a) you want to leave enough crumbs so that the reader is excited to speculate and pay close attention to the text for clues, and b) the reveal also can't be too predictable even with foreshadowing; otherwise, the reveal will feel anti-climatic and boring. This book struck the correct balance between both goals. I actually wrote down my various hyperbolic theories whenever my sixth sense tingled. I did get the gist of the final reveal correct, but the foreshadowing built up my anticipation and there were many surprises even at the end of the novel. In summary: THE AUSTEN PLAYBOOK expertly weaves the romantic and mystery elements together. I never properly described the secondary characters, but some things are best discovered while reading the novel. Be prepared to fall in love with Charlie (Griff's younger and affable brother) and ship Sabrina/Nick (Sabrina is Freddy's older sister and Nick is her rival TV presenter). I think the next book is about Sabrina and Nick. I am READY for a good Enemies-to-Lovers, especially when so much of their enmity/backstory is established in this book. Buy this book, y'all. It was definitely worth the wait for a Lucy Parker fan, and an excellent standalone and entry point into Lucy Parker's work. I loved it all. I loved the protagonists; I loved the secondary characters; I loved hints of the relationships that'll be in future books; I loved the prose; I loved... well, I'm sure you're bored now but you've got the gist. I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review and will cross-post this review on Amazon on release day.
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  • Jan
    January 1, 1970
    3.5 stars. I liked the sweet love story in this book. H and h were well-suited and the development of their relationship was handled well by the writer IMO. I also liked the concept of 'the Austen Playbook' - both the app and the live performance. Unfortunately for me there were too many secondary characters, and I did get them a little confused. Sabrina and Sadie I kept mixing up. Which one was that, again? For me their names were too similar. (I know, probably just me). Luckily I've read the o 3.5 stars. I liked the sweet love story in this book. H and h were well-suited and the development of their relationship was handled well by the writer IMO. I also liked the concept of 'the Austen Playbook' - both the app and the live performance. Unfortunately for me there were too many secondary characters, and I did get them a little confused. Sabrina and Sadie I kept mixing up. Which one was that, again? For me their names were too similar. (I know, probably just me). Luckily I've read the other books, which did help a little with knowing some characters (e.g. Dylan). I think for readers who haven't read the other books, it would be even more confusing. There were so many and you just didn't get enough of a chance to get to know them well enough, so it was easy to be confused by them. I did like Griff's brother, though.I found Griff's parents a bit 'flat'. You didn't really get to know them at all. Griff was perpetually annoyed at their thoughtless profligacy, but I struggled to believe that people who were clever enough to design and build the things they did could act so childishly, and refuse to understand they were spending too much and draining the estate. I did get a bit annoyed/distracted by some of the (IMO) slightly ham-handed plot contrivances. The back story that involves the families of both H and h was reasonably interesting but IMO overly complicated. The book's a reasonably enjoyable read and I don't want to spoil the resolution of the mystery for anyone who hasn't read it yet, so I'm going to use spoiler tags. Some of the contrivances/ coincidences that annoyed me: (possibly not in order)(view spoiler)[When H and h 'happened' to run into each other in London, both there to see where Violet had her accident. Yeah, right. In a city the size of London, same day, same time, same place. Um, no. Unlikely to say the least.When Dylan conveniently drove the forklift into the wall, revealing the secret room. It smacked of 'deus ex machina' to me. :(When Freddy 'happened' to catch up with a friend in a portrait gallery where a portrait of the elusive Violet 'happened' to be hanging, and she 'happened' to catch sight of it and recognise Violet. It also annoyed me that she didn't mention the portrait later to anyone else. Surely Griff, for one, would have wanted to see it, or at least know about it.The Velvet Room. I appreciated why the author chose to leave its revelation till the very end of the book. But sadly, for me that kind of took its impact away. It was an amazing and interesting concept, but by that stage in the book you're all about seeing Griff and Freddy having a HEA, and the setting they're in loses its power a little. It also annoyed me that supposedly, no one had ever known about it before. Why not? A book that was so famous and had been studied by students etc, and no one knew about the room? Seemed a bit of a stretch to me.The sudden building of the Arathorn world in the grounds of the estate. That one came out of left field completely. What???? All of a sudden there was a half-built miniature world with a little train running around? Rigghhhtttt. It worked well as an idea later when it was moved to London etc, but it just appeared too suddenly for me. As a reader, it didn't seem to make sense when it first appeared, sadly like a few other things in the book. They just happened too suddenly and you thought, what? Give me at least a little more foreshadowing, please.When the dastardly Mr Davenport (doubtless the H of the next book in the series, with Sabrina as h) revealed the plagiarism on national TV after hearing a bit of goss from Sadie. Um, no? Wouldn't he have done some fact checking to avoid possibly having the pants sued off his show? It just seemed a bit ridiculous and unbelievable to me. (hide spoiler)]So, although I did like the book and I loved the romance aspect of it, I did struggle with some other aspects of the book and I can only give 3.5 stars. Maybe I'm being a bit picky and I'm sure many readers were happily swept away with the whole thing. But this is how I experienced it as I read it.
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  • Beth
    January 1, 1970
    This is just - so sweet. Fits its setting well, too, in an intimate country-ish small-scale way. Parker repeats some elements from previous books (TV interview bombshells, a cast together in an out-of-the-way place) but I think they’re well integrated here. There’s also a similar feeling of claustrophobia to the world, too, which might be accurate, and a sort of uncomfortable make-the-best-of-it PR attitude to almost every public situation, even ones they knowingly walk into, like relationships. This is just - so sweet. Fits its setting well, too, in an intimate country-ish small-scale way. Parker repeats some elements from previous books (TV interview bombshells, a cast together in an out-of-the-way place) but I think they’re well integrated here. There’s also a similar feeling of claustrophobia to the world, too, which might be accurate, and a sort of uncomfortable make-the-best-of-it PR attitude to almost every public situation, even ones they knowingly walk into, like relationships. But I think the couple is sweet enough and determined enough to get past it all, and there’s something so positive and affirming about that. I’m not sure how I feel about Sadie - very glad she (view spoiler)[got killed off right away, but she’s almost too nasty to be real at this point. And assuming Griff isn’t the only astute critic in London, it’s hard to believe that no one else sees that. (hide spoiler)] On the other hand, I will echo everyone in hoping for a story about Sabrina and Nick. That setup might be overly overt - but I don’t really care. Actually, there’s a lot about this story that’s overt to the point of being overdone, from family parallels to one too many Harry Potter references, but it’s saved by Freddy and Griff, who just won me over.I’m pretty sure more distance from this will allow me to pick a bunch more holes, but in the moment, this is really sweet. Not as good as Act Like It - the voice is too familiar, the tics too similar and cynical, the characters too deliberate in comparison - but the familiar warmth is here, too, and it gives the sense that if these crazy kids can make it in this crazy world, maybe this is really it for them.
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  • Chachic
    January 1, 1970
    Originally posted as a bookstagram: https://www.instagram.com/p/BuG06Z1H37t/Lucy Parker is one of my all-time favorite contemporary romance authors and she's an auto-buy/read author for me. Her upcoming book, The Austen Playbook, is a good example of why I love her writing so much. It is filled with her trademark wit that translates into such great humor and banter in various scenes throughout the book. I loved how she was able to demonstrate the soul-deep connection between two individuals who Originally posted as a bookstagram: https://www.instagram.com/p/BuG06Z1H37t/Lucy Parker is one of my all-time favorite contemporary romance authors and she's an auto-buy/read author for me. Her upcoming book, The Austen Playbook, is a good example of why I love her writing so much. It is filled with her trademark wit that translates into such great humor and banter in various scenes throughout the book. I loved how she was able to demonstrate the soul-deep connection between two individuals who normally wouldn't make sense to be together. Griff is an icy and grumpy theater critic who has said plenty of not-so-nice things about Freddy as a theater actress. He is constantly annoyed at how friendly and bubbly Freddy is. In theory, their personalities should clash, instead they balance and understand each other so well. This is the Slytherin-Hufflepuff pairing I didn't even know I needed.⁣⁣Aside from the romance, there were so many other things to enjoy in this book! Such as the lively cast of theater and TV actors who are working on a live Austen retelling where viewers get to vote for what happens next. They have to rehearse and shoot in a crumbling English mansion, giving off house party in a cozy mystery vibes. Plus a real family mystery that spans several generations. And a fantasy book series that Freddy loves, which I wish was a real thing because it sounds awesome and I want to read it. It may sound like there's a lot going on but trust me, they're pieces that make a cohesive whole. Everything falls into place in such a lovely way.⁣⁣I can't wait for romance readers to read this one and fall in love with it like I did! The Austen Playbook will be released in April 22. I was given a copy by the author in exchange for a review.
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  • Lauren
    January 1, 1970
    I have loved all of Lucy Parker's London Celebrities books, and this is up there very close to PRETTY FACE with being my favorite. Freddy was such a happy, great heroine, and I sympathized so much with her as she feels completely stuck between the actress she wants to be and family expectations. The whole idea of The Austen Playbook cast she joins - a live action play where viewers choose the outcome - was just so much FUN, I wanted desperately to see it for myself. The countryside setting was I have loved all of Lucy Parker's London Celebrities books, and this is up there very close to PRETTY FACE with being my favorite. Freddy was such a happy, great heroine, and I sympathized so much with her as she feels completely stuck between the actress she wants to be and family expectations. The whole idea of The Austen Playbook cast she joins - a live action play where viewers choose the outcome - was just so much FUN, I wanted desperately to see it for myself. The countryside setting was divine - almost like Freddy had her own Pemberley to explore (with very questionable artwork though), and her romance with grumpy critic Griff, was a delight. I also really got into the mystery of what happened in the past between Freddy's grandmother Henrietta and Griff's grandfather, and the secrets they uncover about them though the story. This story was just the perfect mix of Austen inspired swoony romance and mystery/intruge. The only thing I didn't love about this was that the evil Sadie gets away with the havoc she causes. But this book seems to be setting up a companion story featuring Freddy's sister Sabrina, and I'm hoping that Sadie will get what's coming to her in the end.
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  • Jasprit
    January 1, 1970
    Lucy Parker’s books are always a delight to read, I’ve had a lot of fun with the characters that I’ve come across in the London Celebrities series, (there’s a few that you want to smack upside the head), but other than that Parker knows how to bring the swoon! And she didn’t let me down with this latest book, Griff is the typical character that I always tend to find myself falling for; grumpy, tends to get under people’s skin and doesn’t seem like he a nice thing to say about anyone. So, I loved Lucy Parker’s books are always a delight to read, I’ve had a lot of fun with the characters that I’ve come across in the London Celebrities series, (there’s a few that you want to smack upside the head), but other than that Parker knows how to bring the swoon! And she didn’t let me down with this latest book, Griff is the typical character that I always tend to find myself falling for; grumpy, tends to get under people’s skin and doesn’t seem like he a nice thing to say about anyone. So, I loved it when he came head to head with Freddy, the chemistry was super hot, but Freddy was also exactly what he needed and I liked the evolvement of his character by the end of the book. I did like the mystery aspect to The Velvet Room, and their quest to discover more about the backstory of other characters, but I think because I was able to guess the big revelation early on, it kind of took the fun away from it. Despite this, however, I still enjoyed The Austen Playbook overall, I loved the eclectic characters and the drama that they bought, the laugh out loud moments that Parker gave us amongst the heartbreak but most of all, I loved the romance between Griff and Freddy, it was off the charts!
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  • Malin
    January 1, 1970
    Disclaimer! I got an ARC from NetGalley. This has in no way influenced my review. I had already pre-ordered my copy of the book months ago, long before the ARCs became available. Also, because I am terribly late in reviewing it, the book is available on sale from the e-book vendor of your choice. It's excellent, you should totally spend your monies on it!But what is the book about, Malin? You cannot expect people to fork out their hard-earned cash without knowing anything of the story. So here g Disclaimer! I got an ARC from NetGalley. This has in no way influenced my review. I had already pre-ordered my copy of the book months ago, long before the ARCs became available. Also, because I am terribly late in reviewing it, the book is available on sale from the e-book vendor of your choice. It's excellent, you should totally spend your monies on it!But what is the book about, Malin? You cannot expect people to fork out their hard-earned cash without knowing anything of the story. So here goes...Frederica "Freddy" Carlton has been a critical darling on the London stage for more than a decade, having started out as a child star. She started out doing a lot of comedic work and musicals, but now her father, also her manager, wants her to focus on more dramatic and "serious" acting, following in the footsteps of her acclaimed grandmother, who was famous not just for her dramatic roles, but for later in her career writing one of the seminal dramas of the 20th Century. To say Freddy feels the family legacy weighing heavily on her shoulders is putting it lightly. James "Griff" Ford-Griffin is the only rational and pragmatic member of a family of dreamers. When he's not on television as a theatre historian, he writes insightful and scathing reviews in one of the big London papers. His parents keep spending money they don't have hand over fist, his brother is well-meaning but rather ineffectual when it comes to actually helping out in any real way, while Griff is trying to keep the family estate afloat though any means possible. Freddy and Griff first run into one another in a pub in London, after Freddy and her TV presenter sister has overheard Griff taking apart Freddy's most recent theatre performance in very unflattering terms. Even though his judgement of her acting is rather brutal, Freddy is also deeply impressed with how Griff seems to be the only one to see what she really wants to do with her career and how these new serious parts are sapping her spirit. They meet again about a year later, when Freddy arrives along with a large cast of high profile TV and theatre actors to take part in "The Austen Playbook", a one night televised stage performance of a popular "Choose your own adventure" computer game, starring Jane Austen's many popular characters in a drawing room mystery. The TV viewers will have the chance to vote at various points of the performance on what direction they want the play to continue, meaning all the actors will have to learn a truly staggering amount of lines and plot variants. The location for this special TV event? Griff's family estate, which sports its own private theatre (built by his love struck grandfather for Freddy's actress/playwright grandmother, when they had a torrid affair back in the day). Griff and his brother have been promised a share in the profits and desperately hope that the event is a hit, or it's pretty much bye bye family mansion.Freddy is bubbly, cheerful and optimistic. Griff is icy, sarcastic and tends to see the worst in any situation. They are polar opposites, but both became aware of the sizzling chemistry between them that first time they met in the pub, and staying in close confines on Griff's family estate means they soon find the opportunity to act on their mutual attraction. Complicating matters further is the fact that Griff is developing a film about Henrietta Carlton, Freddy's famous grandmother (and her affair with his grandfather), while Freddy's father is trying to stop him from getting the film financed. Freddy's manager dad is also deeply displeased about her choice to do something quite as frivolous as playing Lydia Bennett in a crowd-pleasing TV event, when she should be focusing all her energies on getting cast as the lead in "The Velvet Room", her grandmother's famous play. History would have it that Henrietta wrote the play while staying on the Ford-Griffin's estate, but there are details to the story that don't entirely add up. In between trying to learn lines from a script the size of a phone book and trying to avoid the malicious attention of one of her fellow actresses, Freddy tags along with Griff to discover more about their grandparents' love affair and uncover secrets that have been buried for several generations. Secrets that involve both their families and could have huge ramifications if exposed. The romance between Freddy and Griff develops quickly (they also address this IN the story), but they had met and formed an attraction before they are suddenly thrust into close proximity, and Parker really does make it work. The main couple are not the only great characters here. The supporting cast, especially Griff's brother Charlie and Freddy's sister (who will obviously be the heroine of Parker's next romance) are also excellent. Neither Freddy, nor Griff, have easy relationships with their parents. Freddy's father is a former actor, who when injured on stage (rescuing a young Freddy from falling props) wrote a best-selling biography about his mother and is now an acclaimed theatre writer, as well as her demanding manager. Unfortunately, they have very different ideas of which direction Freddy's career should be taking, and what sort of parts would suit her best. Freddy feels obliged to follow the family legacy and take the dramatic roles her father expects of her, but dreams of starring in a big fantasy musical production, doing light hearted work and making audiences happy instead. Griff's parents are impractical dreamers, who spend outrageous amounts of money on materials and supplies for their extremely elaborate doll houses and miniature landscapes. They have absolutely no concerns about the family being nearly bankrupt and Griff having to mortgage his London flat to try to pay off some of the family debts. I liked the underlying mystery of what exactly happened the summer that Henrietta Carlton wrote "The Velvet Room" and how Griff and Freddy's investigation uncovers new truths about previously believed facts. I absolutely loved the whole concept of "The Austen Playbook", taking Austen's many characters and pitting them against each other in a country house murder mystery, with the audience being allowed to decide what happens next. I would be glued to my television if this existed for real. I liked the rivalry between Freddy's sister and her handsome talk show nemesis (who is clearly going to be the hero in the next book - the enemies to lovers factor is going to be off the charts). I didn't particularly like the bitchy actress making life difficult for everyone during the production, but I don't think we're supposed to. It was nice to see a cameo from Leo from Making Up, with a brief mention of his girlfriend and baby! While they're only mentioned in passing, there was enough detail about the fantasy book series being adapted into the musical Freddy wants to star in that I found yet another fictional book series I would probably become completely hooked on. Seriously, there are so many things I could mention that worked for me, and I can't think of a single thing I disliked. I feel like I should personally apologise to Lucy Parker. I got this book as an ARC in the middle of March and devoured it in less than 24 hours. I've been in and out of reading slumps this year, and this book certainly pulled me out of one. I'm a huge fan of all of her previous books, but was pretty sure this was her best one so far. About a month later, I re-read the book, which confirmed to me that yes, it is my favourite of all her four books and my initial belief that it was a 5-star book entirely held up. This book was an utter delight to read. I think every single aspect of the story works for me. However, the whole point of ARCs is for the readers to get their reviews out in a timely fashion, to generate advance buzz and hopefully help the author sell more copies of their books. The Austen Playbook has been out for more than a month now, and I'm only now getting round to writing about it. So dear Ms. Parker, if you're reading this, please forgive me. Your book is amazing and I loved it both times I read it. I'm already looking forward to Sabrina's book. If I am granted an ARC of that one, I promise to try to get the review out in a timely fashion. No matter what happens, I will pre-order it the second links become available. Your writing is a gift. Judging a book by its cover: Much as I love the book, I am not really a fan of the cover. While the female cover model looks a lot like Freddy is described in the book, the strange pose with her legs and feet in the foreground gives her strange proportions. The male cover model, on the other hand, is a complete disaster. Griff is described as a short-haired Lucius Malfoy, with imperious features and platinum blond hair. He also always seems immaculately dressed, normally in tailored suits. The cover model looks to have a bad bleach job and wears and old t-shirt with the sleeves rolled up. He looks like he's come straight from the gym - not at all like Griff is described throughout the novel. It makes me sad, because a romance this great, deserves a much better cover.
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  • Cathy
    January 1, 1970
    3.5 stars, rounded up I really liked this, it's definitely my favourite after the first book (nothing will ever top that one, I reckon). Freddy was so open with Griff, so without any disguise, no subterfuge, no pretending to be one thing instead of another…it was refreshing. They were both so honest with each other where their feelings were concerned. However, sadly, a character like Sadie is at the top of the list of types of characters I cannot stand. Every mention of her, every scene she was 3.5 stars, rounded up I really liked this, it's definitely my favourite after the first book (nothing will ever top that one, I reckon). Freddy was so open with Griff, so without any disguise, no subterfuge, no pretending to be one thing instead of another…it was refreshing. They were both so honest with each other where their feelings were concerned. However, sadly, a character like Sadie is at the top of the list of types of characters I cannot stand. Every mention of her, every scene she was in was one too many and coupled with other secondary characters like Griff and Charlie's parents, that considerably dragged down my enjoyment. I have no patience for kids who have to parent their parents. And the type of happy-go-lucky, dreamy, off on another planet kind of parents who have no sense of responsibility whatsoever frustrates me. I had issues with practically all of the secondary characters come to think of it, barring Charlie and Akiko and it was a drag. (Although I did ship Sabrina and Nick Davenport so if that's ever going to go anywhere, I'm here for it.) But the romance. Oh, the romance. I want to hug both Freddy and Griff to my chest and never let go. And that final scene was a thing of beauty.
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  • Jaime ~ Fiction Fangirls
    January 1, 1970
    I was so excited to read this story after seeing the cover and reading the blurb but, I’ll be honest, it wasn’t exactly what I expected. Not that I didn’t enjoy the book but it wasn’t the fun, lighthearted read that I expected. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t angsty, emotional or tragic but it didn’t exactly feel like the romance I was anticipating.There was a lot of focus on the play, the cast and the shared, and very complicated history between the heroine and hero’s families. While all of it wa I was so excited to read this story after seeing the cover and reading the blurb but, I’ll be honest, it wasn’t exactly what I expected. Not that I didn’t enjoy the book but it wasn’t the fun, lighthearted read that I expected. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t angsty, emotional or tragic but it didn’t exactly feel like the romance I was anticipating.There was a lot of focus on the play, the cast and the shared, and very complicated history between the heroine and hero’s families. While all of it was interesting, I was just wishing there had been more focus on the romance between Griff and Freddy. I really enjoyed their opposites attract, rivals to lovers romance. They had great chemistry and banter and I just wanted more. I was sucked in to the storyline of the secondary characters enough that I will definitely be reading more from this series. There will me more, right? *I received an advanced copy from the publisher for voluntary review
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  • Irene
    January 1, 1970
    4.5 stars
  • Katie
    January 1, 1970
    Oooooooh. I generally feel like "everyone" likes Lucy Parker just a bit better than I do, but I LOVED this. I related to both main characters with different parts of my self, which was really interesting.(Like everyone, I want Nick/Sabrina, and also a Dylan story?? Maybe Dylan/Maya???)
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