Despite the generally positive reviews, I avoided Lucy Parker’s follow-up to the delightful Act Like It for fear that it wouldn’t live up to the hype.
Big shock: the book is excellent. (Though Act Like It will probably remain my favorite.)
Pretty Face has an additional 100 pages which Parker uses well. Lily and Luc are both three-dimensional characters. Lily is a vampy soap actress with her first role in a big ticket West End production. Professionally, her overblown Marilyn Monroe-esque features and breathy, sex kitten voice are holding her back. Personally, her identity as a love child of two workaholic parents has led to trust issues. For his part, Luc is all but married to his theater, a family legacy which he is committed to restoring. He’s not only struggling with costly renovations and temperamental stars, but also a run of bad press brought on by his long-term ex’s quickie rebound marriage.
Parker manages once again what few romance authors do: she allows us to see two grown-up characters fall in love with one another. Lily and Luc feel like real people. We get to watch them fall in real love, rather than insta-love. They act and respond to situations just as your friends and family would.
What impresses me is that despite all the reviews I’ve read for Pretty Face, none really impressed upon me how much *story* is here, and it’s well-paced. I never found myself checking how much time was left in the book, nor is there any last-minute “wait, how is she going to wrap all this up with 10% left in the book” wondering. (Act Like It feels thin in comparison. My only consolation is that Richard appears to steal yet another scene.)
Parker is a romance author to watch.