Project: Catch Up On Review Backlog, review #3 out of 11
So this review has actually been stalling me for a month now, for no particular reason. Maybe I felt pressured to live up to all the cute hedgehog gifs I’ve included below with my words. Or maybe it’s because I’ve since found (thanks to the CBR Facebook group) that Lucy Parker reads Cannonball Read sometimes (!!). No pressure, y’all. Sometimes when I write reviews I pretend authors don’t exist, for just this reason. Oh, and also it’s my 1500th review on Goodreads (!!!). But I’m just gonna go.
Making Up is the third book in Lucy Parker’s contemporary romance series, following actors and actor adjacents in London’s West End. This time around, we’ve got Trix, Lily’s best friend from the last book, who has just gotten out of an emotionally abusive relationship that isolated her from her support system and did severe structural damage to her self-confidence. She’s a singing acrobat actress, basically, and an accident onstage has lead her to temporarily filling in for the leading lady, with the potential to earn the role permanently.
In the other corner, we’ve got Leo. He’s a make-up artist, and he and Trix go way back, but not in a good way. They went to the same school as teenagers, and a series of events have led to them butting heads ever since. Leo has just been hired on Trix’s show, and not only that, has been assigned to company housing as her flatmate (with two other guys from the show). So they’re forced together quite a bit before finally resolving the mistakes and misunderstandings that lead to their falling out years ago. This, surprisingly, isn’t the end of the conflict. I really appreciate that their unimportant issues were resolved so early so we could get to the real conflict, which is that the specter of Trix’s ex is getting in the way not only of her professional life, but her personal one as well. She’s convinced long term relationships aren’t for her. Meanwhile, she’s falling for Leo and he’s falling for her. And he’s determined to win an important make-up competition that could lead him to a career defining job, but getting that job would mean moving across the pond, and away from Trix.
There is a subplot involving Leo’s sister, Cat, who is vile, and I’m not sure the revelation about why she’s acting that way is enough for me to forgive her for her atrocious behavior. I’m not supportive of taking the thing that’s making you miserable and using it to make other people miserable, too. It’s gross.
As a postscript, the hedgehog gifs are relevant because Leo is caring for his sister’s hedgehog, Reggie, when we meet him, as Cat was in New York on a design internship. Reggie the Hedgie. Any excuse to post cute gifs, basically.
I actually really liked this book, maybe even more than her first one, which everyone else seems to love the most. I still think it was underbaked and needed a hundred more pages. I loved Leo and Trix together, but mostly I really loved the way Parker explores Trix’s trauma, and allows her to recover from it. That sort of self-discovery feels important to me, and it made what could have been an otherwise shallow reading experience feel very much not shallow at all.
Here are a couple of more hedgepig gifs.