Lucy Parker’s London Celebrities series has been consistently good but the one right before this was not quite as fun as the others since it explored a character dealing with recovering after an emotionally abusive and manipulative relationship. The Austen Playbook is back to being a lighter, fun romance that I really enjoyed. It even involves past family drama!
Freddy Carlton is a theatrical actress, part of a family of performers. Her grandmother was renowned as an actress and playwright, with one play specifically being her master piece. Freddy’s father is her agent, and he has a very specific vision for Freddy’s career, and she has gone along with it, even though her interests are more in the lines of comedy/musical theater actress while her father has been pushing her into the dramatic roles. With her father distracted, Freddy commits to a TV “Choose Your Own Austen adventure” live filming because it is something she wants to do. After this, she is supposed to take on the main role in her grandmother’s famous play, even though she is tired of pursuing the family legacy.
J. Ford-Griffin, or Griff, is a theater critic, and he has written some rather scathing reviews in the past, including ones for Freddy’s productions. He is also in charge of his family estate, and trying hard to make sure the family doesn’t go bankrupt, despite his parents’ lavish spending and the general cost of upkeep. In an effort to help, his little brother has made a deal with a television production company, and they are filming the Austen production on site.
Naturally, Griff and Freddy discover they get along more than expected, and Freddy realizes that Griff has a better read and understanding of her than many. Additionally, there is some family animosity that adds some extra drama to this story, as well as family history since Freddy’s grandmother and Griff’s grandfather had a notorious affair back in the day – it was so scandalous that the usually money conscientious grandfather built an onsite theater for Freddy’s grandmother.
Definitely recommend this one! It was fun and the characters were so charming. This easily could have been treated as a hate to love romance given the initial prologue, but Griff and Freddy have a grudging respect for each other even from the beginning, and quickly become friendly, showing genuine concern for the questions the other is struggling with. Given that the previous Parker was a hate to love novel, I liked that she went the opposites attract route.