Picture a crumbling estate managed by a severely grumpy theatre critic and television host, Griff. Griff looks like Lucius Malfoy and, in my head, has the voice and gravitas of Alan Rickman.
You with me?
To Griff's great dismay, his brother has signed a contract allowing basically a choose-your-own-adventure play (based on a game based on Jane Austen characters) to be performed at a theatre on their estate.
Who’s playing Lydia Bennet?
Why, none other than Freddy Carlton, a delightfully irrepressible actress who has taken her fair share of knocks in Griff’s column.
What follows is spectacular. There’s banter galore, between an icy, acerbic critic-by-trade (a Slytherin!) who is used to managing everything in his life, and a frequently underestimated, plucky dynamo who is trying to figure out how she can honor herself and what she wants without losing her dad’s respect and affection.
There’s also plenty of steam.
The love scenes are exciting to be sure, but they’re also poignant and real—they’re full of moments we all long for and they're also approachable, they’re inhabited by characters who are lovely and attractive but not physically or otherwise perfect. It’s so well done, and truly lovely.
Finally, there’s an exciting historical mystery that Freddy and Griff try to uncover that lends extra pathos to The Austen Playbook.
If you want to see romance beautifully done, pick up The Austen Playbook or any of Lucy Parker’s other books. She’s very special.
The Naptime Writer also recommends: Lauren Layne’s Walk of Shame; Sarah Skilton’s Fame Adjacent.
**I received a complimentary copy of this book via Netgalley, but all opinions provided are my own.
Q: Who is a grumpy personality you can’t get enough of?
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