Release Date: Nov 15, 2015
Imprint: Carina Press
Series: West End
Book: 1 (Debut)
Heat Level: Sensual
I’m still trying to wrap my brain around the fact that Act Like It is Lucy Parker’s debut! It’s clear this author was born with the brilliant writing gene. Her writing, her prose is nothing short of magnificent. It blew me away. Blows me away still.
Act Like It wasn’t even the first Lucy Parker I read. I actually read Pretty Face—stupendous—first, her sophomore book. When I read it, I couldn’t believe I wasn’t reading the work of an experienced writer. I thought perhaps she was a former script writer or maybe even a ghost writer. I did my research to discover I was wrong on all counts.
Now after that preface, let’s talk about the actual story. Laine and Richard. 🙂 What a pair. I won’t go through a retelling of the blurb except to say the idea of two actors faking a relationship to rehabilitate the image of one is not new and has been going on in real-life for ages and is done wonderfully here.
Richard Troy, for all his surly abrasiveness, is a joy to get to know. He’s truly a three-dimensional character, molded into the talent he’s become by the totality of his experience. Not only does he not suffer fools gladly, he does very little to hide his disdain of them. He’s not an easy man to deal with or handle.
Lainie Graham is truly a lovely heroine. I immediately clicked with her. Possessing beauty, talent and wit isn’t a bad place to start. And she has so much heart. I firmly believe it’s not only because of her sister’s death from cancer. But that experience certainly enhanced her capacity for compassion.
The two of them together in a faux relationship is romance gold. Could they be more dry and acerbic? I don’t think so. Ms. Parker manages to make the book humorous without depending on crass jokes, slapstick or clichés. That’s truly a feat of monumental proportions. I take my hats off to her. Reading her books reminds me of my first taste of Sherry Thomas, a whole lot of awe and a tiny bit of writer envy. Okay, maybe more than a little. 😉
One of the many many things I thought Ms. Parker did very well is paint both characters as infinitely fallible, making them genuine and relatable. There’s an arrogant obliviousness to Richard that had me slapping my forehead in recognition. I’ve met many men like him before. Too many. Honestly, some of them have no idea how they come across to others. They. Just. Don’t.
When the valet had moved away to take another guest’s keys, she shook her head. “You could have at least said thank you.”
Richard shrugged. “I thank people when they do me a favour. He’s paid to do a job. For which I gave him additional compensation.”
“Because it would kill you to just say a quick “thanks” when people work hard to make your life easier?”
He never thought of it like before Lainie pointed it out the way she did. He truly hadn’t. But he took note and made an effort to modify his behavior from then on, showing a willingness to learn and to change. And thank goodness for that because reforming Richard is going to be a lifelong project. Actually, we don’t want him changing too much. I love some of his sharp edges. Not every edge needs to be smoothed.
Both Lainie and Richard are glib with the tongue. Some of their exchanges are true works of art. The back and forth between them is filled with humorous barbs and jabs.
“You do realise you’re holding a baby, not a leaking bucket?” she asked conversationally, and he gave her a look that could splinter wood. “Against your chest, hand under his bottom. Honestly. You must have had a cuddle before.”
“Yes, but women don’t appreciate a hand under their bottom until I’ve at least bought them dinner,” he retorted and the WI president tittered into her jam scone.
I can’t tell you how fun it was to watch Lainie’s ex, Will Farmer, get thrown into the mix. Wait, I guess I mean thrown back into the mix because he was with Lainie first, a fact that initially elicits Richard’s scorn.
“And I hope you don’t think I want to be publicly associated with a woman who—presumably in a state of complete sobriety—took her clothes off for Will Farmer.”
Working with your ex, having to kiss your ex every performance for work while having a faux then real relationship with your other co-star. You simply can’t tell me that’s not romance gold. It’s conflict in a run-on sentence is what it is. And I loved every second of it!
And lest I’m leaving you with the impression Act Like It is all dry, witty, British fun and games, it’s not. While there’s lots of heartfelt emotion throughout, the last quarter of the book is where you’ll find it pulling the hardest. There will be mistakes that must be rectified and a HEA that will be savored with a happy sigh. Enjoy. I certainly did.
P.S. You’re going to want to read Pretty Face, which comes out next month.