Tuesday, June 23, 2020

REVIEW: The Austen Playbook by Lucy Parker

I love plunging myself into the London theater world Lucy Parker creates.  Maybe it's because my mother was a local community theater actress and had me tag along with her to rehearsal or maybe it's just the inherent curiosity I have about what's like behind the curtain--either way, this series is one I've enjoyed and am always looking forward to reading the next new addition.

The Austen Playbook did exactly what I hoped--it lightened my mood with it's romance and comedy, kept me engaged with the building tension between Sadie and, well, basically everyone else, and had me wondering how Griff and Freddy were going to work out the conflicts that seemed to pop up. I loved that Parker took her characters out of the city and put them in the countryside for a change of pace--it gave my imagination a new thing to dream up and gave me yet another reason to want to visit England again. I also enjoyed the secondary characters and am so very hopeful that all of them can get the Lucy Parker treatment of romance and comedy and happily ever afters. The Austen Playbook was the perfect way to spend this rainy weekend.

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In which experienced West End actress Freddy Carlton takes on an Austen-inspired play, a scandal at a country estate, an enthusiastic search for a passion outside of acting…and the (some people might say icy*) heart of London’s most feared theater critic.

*if those people were being nice

Freddy Carlton knows she should be focusing on her lines for The Austen Playbook, a live-action TV event where viewers choose the outcome of each scene, but her concentration’s been blown. The palatial estate housing the endeavor is now run by the rude (brilliant) critic who’s consistently slammed her performances of late. James “Griff” Ford-Griffin has a penchant for sarcasm, a majestic nose and all the sensitivity of a sledgehammer.

She can’t take her eyes off him.

Griff can hardly focus with a contagious joy fairy flitting about near him, especially when Freddy looks at him like that. His only concern right now should be on shutting down his younger brother’s well-intentioned (disastrous) schemes—or at the very least on the production (not this one) that might save his family home from the banks.

Instead all he can think of is soft skin and vibrant curls.

As he’s reluctantly dragged into her quest to rediscover her passion for the stage and Freddy is drawn into his research on a legendary theater star, the adage about appearances being deceiving proves abundantly true. It’s the unlikely start of something enormous…but a single revelation about the past could derail it all.

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