All The Books I Can Read

1 girl….2 many books!

Review: The Austen Playbook by Lucy Parker

on September 16, 2020

The Austen Playbook (London Celebrities #4)
Lucy Parker
Carina Press
2019, 400p
Purchased personal copy

Blurb {from the publisher/}:

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.

So the other day I was browsing the romance subreddit and someone requested, basically, romances where “a Slytherin falls in love with a Hufflepuff” and one of the suggestions was this. It reminded me that this was actually a book I skipped in this series. I read the first 3 last year and then #5 was on NetGalley, so I ended up reading that too. From reading that one, I knew that I would be interested in this one but it slipped my mind to go back and read it, so as soon as I read the suggestion on that subreddit, I went and downloaded it straight away.

Freddy was introduced to readers in previous books. She’s an actress, somewhat royalty in London theatre circles – her grandmother was an actress and wrote a very acclaimed play which is now studied by pretty much every British schoolchild. Her father was a talented actor before an accident ended his career and now he manages Freddy. But although her father has very carefully mapped out a particular path for her, one that will see her as a Very Serious Actress, lately Freddy hasn’t been feeling her roles. She’s starting to think that maybe, her career lies in a different direction. Her performances keep also being savaged by J. Ford-Griffen, a clever and cutting critic who writes for the Post and also appears on television. So of course when she accepts an offer to act in a live-tv event that’s a mashup of various Austen books, it’s being filmed at the majestic family pile of “Griff” – whose grandfather infamously had an affair with Freddy’s grandmother. The more they run into each other, the more the banter turns into something a little more….Freddy discovers that the acerbic Griff has a soft heart and Griff knows what Freddy desires in her career and wants to encourage her. But the tumultuous past of their relatives could threaten it all.

Yes, yes, yes. If I could use an emoji with little heart eyes in this post, I would. I adored this book. It was exactly my sort of thing – as most of these in the series have been. I loved Richard and Lainey in book 1 and Luc and Lily in book 2. I also really loved Nick and Sabs in book 5, despite what Nick did (which occurs in this book, and I already knew about it given I’ve read the follow up to this). The dynamic of the characters and the banter pretty much always work for me in this series, this one perhaps more so than any of the others (except maybe Richard and Lainey in book 1). This makes me want to re-read book 1.

I loved Griff – he’s exactly the sort of icy, grumpy hero hiding a heart of gold underneath all those cutting remarks that I love. And Freddy is basically sunshine in a bottle – everything about her is a field of sunflowers and you could not get a more Slytherin/Hufflepuff dynamic. It’s actually referenced several times in the book that Griff is a total Slytherin and even though I haven’t read Harry Potter other than the first book, I know enough to understand that he’s almost a Malfoy implant. He’s a platinum blonde with dark eyes and a snarky attitude. But underneath Griff is a ball of stress and worry as it falls to him to keep his feckless, happy-go-lucky spendthrift family in line when the money is drying up. He has a project, which if he can pull off, might save the day and prevent him from having to sell the family home but Freddy’s father is doing his best to sabotage that.

I adored Griff and Freddy together, the way he reacts every time he sees her, especially in the beginning. Freddy is so full of fun – I loved her in the previous book and was super keen for her to get her own book, I can’t believe it took me so long to read it. I also enjoyed the way she sparred with Griff about the lines he’d written in his reviews. She didn’t hold a grudge and I liked the she accepted that Griff could kind of see what she should be doing, the sort of roles that her heart longed for, that she’d be made for, rather than the more serious, dramatic acting chops roles that her father preferred she audition for. Griff is very encouraging about Freddy taking charge of her own career and owning the sorts of parts she wants to play, rather than continuing to allow herself to be shoehorned into a type, one that was clearly not her strength. But Griff does mess up by doing something that makes Freddy feel like he’s gone behind her back and he has to fix it.

This book gave me such joy, it was exactly my sort of thing and I loved it from start to finish. I downloaded a bunch of other “Slytherin falls in love with a Hufflepuff” recommendations and I hope I enjoy them all as much as I did this one.


Book #182 of 2020

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