This is the first Lucy Parker I’ve read, and it definitely won’t be the last, because The Austen Playbook is a breath of fresh air. Vividly bringing to life the chaos and drama which goes on behind the scenes and in the lives of London’s theatre set, it’s a story full of sassy jokes, sexy quips and an unexpected amount of soul-searching about just how much we owe to our families when it comes time to make choices about living our own dreams.
Freddy, our heroine, is the scion of one of London’s greatest dramatic families. Living in the shadow of her grandmother, a legendary playwright and actress, Freddy is pushed by her father into taking on dramatic and serious roles which don’t suit her bubbly personality at all. The only person who seems to recognise the truth of what she’d rather be doing is critic J. Ford-Griffen (Griff) who hits the nail on the head when he acerbically notes she’d obviously be far happier stomping around in puddles performing in Singin’ In The Rain.
When Freddy accepts the role of Lydia Bennet in a live-action choose-your-own-adventure Austen adaptation to be performed in a historic theatre built by her grandmother’s lover, the last person she expects to discover as owner of the estate is Griff. The two clash from the beginning, but the flying sparks are those of attraction. Though circumstances (and impossible cast-mates) conspire to keep them apart, somehow the two find their way together, and it’s utterly charming to see grumpy, aloof Griff fall head-over-heels for fun, light-hearted Freddy.
The writing is absolutely superb, and there are great lines all over the place, but my favorite has to be the tongue-in-cheek homage of that immortal opening to Pride and Prejudice. “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.”
Five stars for a terrific read, and I’m now a HUGE fan. Can’t wait for Sabrina’s story!
The Austen Playbook is available now.
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book for review through NetGalley.