This review is spoiler free.
I signed up with NetGalley in hopes that I would be given this book in exchange for an honest review. I was so excited when I got the email from the publisher that my mood did a wild swing from morose despair to OHMYGODREALLY???
I loooooooved it.
- Grumpy hero – check
- witty heroine – check
- sparkling banter – check
- sexy sexy times – check
- a brief spot of soulful pining – check
- meddling families – check
- shenanigans – check
The things I find most romantic are seeing past the other person’s facade into who they really are and appreciating them and when a couple realizes they are a team. For Griff and Freddy, that process of seeing beneath the facade begins before the book opens. Freddy, whom readers of Lucy Parker will remember from Pretty Face, is a theater actress and Griff is a curmudgeonly theater critic. He has reviewed her performances and said some not so nice things about her. In an homage to Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, Freddy overhears Griff give his opinion of her latest performance and his general opinion of her career. What Freddy overhears lines up with her own thinking. They have a little moment before separating for several months.
An unexpected little flutter in her stomach took her by surprise. An oxytocin hit from the walking ice cube. Interesting life choices, body. “Apparently I have an affinity with all sorts of small objects. Bottles. Safety scissors.”
His brain didn’t require even a second of internal whirring to catch on. A small glint appeared behind the emotionless observation. “If it helps, there’ll be no references to predictability in the next review.”
When Freddy and Griff meet again, they are each at decision points in their lives. They are forced into proximity and in a period of vulnerability for each and wham! InstaLove. I felt like the first chapter sets up the romance that happens so quickly between them. Parker plants the seeds in her characters and then puts them in a situation where those seeds are given time to flourish.
Griff and Freddy are thrown into proximity when she takes part in a televised choose your own ending Austen mash-up production. With a cast of actors, family and others forced together there are present day shenanigans and past shenanigans with which to contend. The craziness is background music to the love story. Occasionally the shenanigans threaten to overwhelm the story, but I never thought they crossed that line. Your mileage may vary. The coming together of antagonists, past and present force Freddy and Griff to recognize they will support each other in all circumstances.
The Austen Playbook will be released on April 22nd. It’s a lovely, effervescent romance. It came to me on a day when I was feeling anxious and sad, and turned my day around. I’ll leave you with example of Parker’s fizzy, funny writing:
In the warm light, the decrepit parts of the main house took on a charmingly lived-in appearance, the gardens smelled divine, and there were even two peacocks strutting about the lawn.
One of the avian variety. One of a more ubiquitous species.
Far from his usual habitat, a prime example of the classic Homo sapiens fuckboy, in rampant mating phase.