The Austen Playbook Cover
Synopsis from the Creator:

In which experienced West End actress Freddy Carlton takes on an Austen-inspired play, a scandal at a country estate, an enthusiastic search for a passion outside of acting…and the (some people might say icy*) heart of London’s most feared theater critic.

*if those people were being nice

Freddy Carlton knows she should be focusing on her lines for The Austen Playbook, a live-action TV event where viewers choose the outcome of each scene, but her concentration’s been blown. The palatial estate housing the endeavor is now run by the rude (brilliant) critic who’s consistently slammed her performances of late. James “Griff” Ford-Griffin has a penchant for sarcasm, a majestic nose and all the sensitivity of a sledgehammer.

She can’t take her eyes off him.

Griff can hardly focus with a contagious joy fairy flitting about near him, especially when Freddy looks at him like that. His only concern right now should be on shutting down his younger brother’s well-intentioned (disastrous) schemes—or at the very least on the production (not this one) that might save his family home from the banks.
Instead all he can think of is soft skin and vibrant curls.
As he’s reluctantly dragged into her quest to rediscover her passion for the stage and Freddy is drawn into his research on a legendary theater star, the adage about appearances being deceiving proves abundantly true. It’s the unlikely start of something enormous…but a single revelation about the past could derail it all.

Review: The Austen Playbook, by Lucy Parker

[fa icon="calendar"] Apr 22, 2019 9:00:00 AM / by Ana Coqui

In the Austen Playbook, Parker delights with a clever opposites-attract romance.

 Set in a crumbling estate begrudgingly opened to a television production crew and a querulous cast of thespians, Parker throws together a grumpy and frustrated theater critic with a charming and impulsive actress. While full of Austen references, it is not a full blown retelling, allowing for the story to surprise by calling back to beloved Austen moments at unexpected points. The conflict embedded in Freddy and Griff’s explicitly Hufflepuff/Slytherin personalities is fodder for much of the humor. While it comes close to becoming repetitive, neither of them become caricatures. Parker’s resolution of the high stakes literary mystery did not wholly satisfy, but I loved how Griff and Freddy worked out their differences.

Parker layers present-day conflicts with past scandals, creating an engaging story that is at once playful and profound. I was completely caught up in the saga of the Fords and Carltons and how the choices of one generation echo down the years. With its cast of colorful, vain, and occasionally villainous supporting players, The Austen Playbook made for a full blown house party mystery from Parker.

The Austen Playbook is one of my favorite reads of the year so far and one of my favorites of the series, perhaps even surpassing my love for Pretty Face.


Content Warnings: Bullying, workplace harrassment 

Topics: review