The Austen Playbook

The Austen Playbook

by Lucy Parker

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Overview

“The London Celebrities series—some of the wittiest, smartest dialogue to come down the romance pike in years.”—Kirkus Reviews

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.

Don’t miss the London Celebrities series by Lucy Parker! Order your copy of Act Like It, Pretty Face & Making Up today!

This book is approximately 99,000 words

One-click with confidence. This title is part of the Carina Press Romance Promise: all the romance you’re looking for with an HEA/HFN. It’s a promise!

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781335006899
Publisher: Carina Press
Publication date: 04/30/2019
Series: London Celebrities , #4
Edition description: Original
Pages: 400
Sales rank: 261,409
Product dimensions: 4.20(w) x 6.50(h) x 1.30(d)

About the Author

Lucy Parker lives in the gorgeous Central Otago region of New Zealand, where she feels lucky every day to look out at mountains, lakes and vineyards. She has a degree in Art History, loves museums and galleries, and doodles unrecognisable flowers when she has writer's block.

Her interest in romantic fiction began with a pre-teen viewing of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice (Firth-style), which prompted her to read the book as well, and the rest was history.

Customer Reviews

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The Austen Playbook 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 9 reviews.
etoile1996 20 days ago
i've read all the london celebrities books, and honestly i thought the series had ended. but the world is rich and layered enough that it is entirely possible for this series to keep going on indefinitely. something that totally works for me. in this book we are treated to a heroine who is both delightfully sunny and honest. her brand of honesty is not the kind that cuts, but it is still incisive and astute. and that core of honesty is what brings freddy and griff together. he is that acerbic, no-holds-barred kind of honest. the kind of person you hate for being right because of the way he elects to deliver the unvarnished truth about your truest self. how he sees past all artifice and gets to the heart of the matter. he is not kind. but he isn't cruel either. at their core, freddy and griff are both intensely moral people who do things for love of their family. you look past all the window dressings of who they appear to be and you see that they are, of course, meant for each other in spite of everything that seems so opposite. this is a layered plot, what with the multi-level adaptation of austen, griff's estate issues, and freddy's family skeletons bouncing about, but the relationship moves forward with intense chemistry and relatively minor hiccups. when freddy and griff go all in, they are all in. and how they sort through the chaos around them, is one of those things that leaves you swoony and happy and slightly hungover. i loved the austen playbook. i love griff and freddy. i hope to see a future story with nick and sabrina because i believe there is a lot to go on there. i want this series to keep going and going because it is that good. **the austen playbook will publish on april 22, 2019. i received an advance reader copy courtesy of netgalley/carina press in exchange for my honest review.
Honolulubelle 21 days ago
Favorite Quotes: He was all injured gentlemanly charm. It would be more successful if she hadn’t witnessed him getting absolutely rat-arsed at a wrap party, whipping his trousers off, and drawing a smiley-face on his willy. Once you’d seen a bloke doodling on his d* with permanent ink, the mystique was gone. Look at that, her mere presence could make a man’s entire being go instantly flaccid. As superhuman powers went, she didn’t really rate it up there with invisibility and flight. I hope the baffling fact that you’re letting it be staged on your property doesn’t mean I’ll miss out on the joy of a written review. They’re useful to have around if I’m ever in danger of developing self-esteem. I’m a forgiving soul… Can’t say the same for some of that lot out there. And it’s a murder-mystery play. All the suspects gathered together for a house party. It could give someone ideas… The sarcastic critic with his poison pen and scores of embittered enemies. If this was Midsomer Murders, you wouldn’t even make it to the opening credits. If you hear the faint strains of ominous music, come find me. I’ll protect you. Ma once said that if it hadn’t been for the twenty-hour labour, she might have thought he’d spontaneously animated from an ice sculpture. He was broad-shouldered and long-legged, with dark skin and eyes, and his bone structure was unbelievable. He might have been carved by Michelangelo rather than sprouting from cells like other mortals. My Review: This was a fun and cleverly written book that was brimming with levity, razor sharp banter, pithy and wry commentary, keenly honed wit, family drama, a bit of intrigue, and most importantly, an enemies to lovers romance. I adored it, and how could I not – as the main characters were intelligent adults who laced their humor with brilliantly placed Scooby Doo and Harry Potter references. I enjoyed Ms. Parker’s vibrant characters, vivid descriptions, and colorful word choices. I also gleaned an addition to my Brit word list with sarky, which is Brit slang for sarcastic, as I could never have enough of those words. ;)
emmalita 23 days ago
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 a year later, 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.
Shelley Murray 29 days ago
This book! First of all, I love all the literary and pop culture references, and not just to Jane Austen. Freddy repeatedly refers to Griff as a Slytherin (which I love, being someone who likes to assign characters to houses in the books I'm reading), and at one point teases him and his platinum blonde hair by calling him Norma Jean (Marilyn Monroe's real name) and Malfoy (another Harry Potter reference). Also, points for male body positivity: "She couldn't stop touching him. His torso was long and his body was mostly stretches of taut muscle, but not in a super pumped-up gym way. Parts of him were softer, and areas of skin roughed into scars and the odd stretch mark, and he was real and here and him." And just general hilarity: "If she were a man, she'd soon be in danger of waving a giant flag that she was really, really enjoying the backrub. One of the many perks of being a woman. Willies were fun to play with, but occasionally they just seemed inconvenient. And kind of odd-looking." I adore Freddy. As a fellow Hufflepuff, I am on board with her cheerful, sunny, musicals and fantasy novel loving self. And while sometimes I wanted to punch Griff, I also wanted to hug him even more sometimes. His snark is really witty, and while it can be terribly cutting it's also very candid and honest as well. Griff is very much a Darcy-type, so if you're into your Darcy Slytherin heroes, this is for sure the book for you! Also, this book is just further proof that Slytherins and Hufflepuffs are the OTP of legend. They're also so very real together (exhibit A: the shower sex scene that actually reads like what two people trying to have sex in the shower looks like, instead of every other romance novel where I find myself going 'NUH UH, THEY WOULD DROWN.') and have realistic squabbles and troubles - despite their very extraordinary circumstances of being an actress in the world's wackiest choose-your-own-adventure style play and an historian/art ciritic with a zany family trying to save his crumbling down manor home. You would think they wouldn't be very relatable, but they are and it's wonderful and gorgeous. The Austen Playbook is the 4th book in the London Celebrities series, and can be read as a stand-alone with no spoilers for the earlier books. I think Leo from book 3 (Making Up) is the only character from earlier in the series that makes an appearance in this book, and it's a super minor cameo.
Anonymous 3 months ago
Lucy+Parker+manages+to+write+books+in+a+distinctive+voice+with+connected+characters%2C+without+making+those+characters+interchangeable.++She+is+fond+of+the+grumpy+man%2Fcheerful+woman+trope%2C+but+each+variation+is+different+and+distinct.+%0A%0AUsually%2C+there+is+a+strong+family+presence+in+her+books.+Act+Like+It%2C+the+first+in+this+series%2C+had+a+cheerful+supportive+family+for+the+heroine%2C+but+each+book+differs.+There+are+family+problems+here%2C+but+as+usual+with+Ms+Parker%2C+there+are+strengths+too%2C+which+makes+me+glad%21%0A%0AThere%27s+a+mystery+here+and+a+genuine+complicated+problem+for+our+couple+to+deal+with%2C+which+they+do%21+++%0A%0AI+highly+recommend+this.
Anonymous 3 months ago
Freddy Carlton is a West End (of London) Theatre actress, she comes from a long line of actors and writers, practically theatrical royalty. Her father is her manager and is pushing her into taking on ore serious roles, particularly in plays written by her paternal grandmother the famous Henrietta Carlton whereas Freddy loves, and excels at, the lighter shows - musicals, comedies - she likes to entertain people and make them happy. Against her father's wishes Freddy has signed up to act in a live TV production of an interactive murder mystery based on the characters of Jane Austen, where viewers can determine the outcome of the story through voting on an app, called The Austen Playbook. The show is being rehearsed and televised from the stately home of one of theatre (and Freddy's) harshest critics, James Ford-Griffin, whose physical similarities to Slytherin's favourite son Malfoy Draco are made abundantly clear. Let me start off by saying I love Lucy Parker's theatrical romantic comedies and this is no exception. I love Jane Austen, I love country house romantic comedies, I love romance between a sunny, bouncy, Pollyanna-esque heroine and a grumpy, acidic hero. I also loved the mystery which Freddy and James solve about the notorious affair between their respective grandparents. I suppose you could level the accusation that Lucy Parker's heroines are kind of similar but I don't care, I loved it, it was a feel good romp of the best kind. I received a free copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
CathyGeha 3 months ago
You know that book that puts a smile on your face from page one and then lingers throughout the story? That was this book for me! When I saw a new book in this series I was thrilled because I have enjoyed every book by this author that I have read so far...and I loved this one, too! Freddy Carlton is everything I might want in a female lead. She is smart, honest, talented, affectionate, open, a great friend, professional and a whole lot more. Her ancestors have been in theater for generations and her talent is exceptional but she does question at times if she is taking on the roles she is meant to do – ones that make her happy. When a break occurs and she is offered a take part in The Austen Playbook she is ready and looking forward to the change it will provide. She expects to spend some time away from London, go on country walks, relax with a script she can enjoy and spend time with actors she likes...until she gets a look at who those actors actually end up being. James “Griff” Ford-Griffin is a man who has critiqued many of Freddy’s plays. She believes he is honest in his writing but he is not always kind. Griff’s brother Charlie has a hair-brained idea to bring The Austen Playbook to their estate and utilize a theater their grandfather built for the project. Money they need to keep the estate going MIGHT come their way...or not...as a result of this and a few other projects. Griff has a heavy burden to carry with flaky parents and a brother he sees as less than responsible but he will make the best of it. When Freddy and Griff meet there is definitely chemistry and watching their relationship develop was so much fun...and kept that smile on my face throughout the story. I loved them individually and loved them together as they were definitely meant to be a couple. This story has a wonderful romance, secrets that are exposed, dramatic fireworks between some of the actors, interesting family dynamics to contend with and times that I was drawn in so much that I felt a part of the story...or wanted to be anyway. I love this author and this series and would gladly read anything she writes! And, I would like to thank NetGalley and Carina for the ARC – This is my honest review. 5 Stars
MoniqueD 3 months ago
While I still haven't read Act Like It, book 1 in the London Celebrities series, I had loved Pretty Face, book 2; disliked Making Up, book 3, and I took a chance on THE AUSTEN PLAYBOOK. So, no need to summarise, the blurb is sufficiently explicit. Lucy Parker possesses phenomenal writing skills, her characters are vibrant and real, the physical environment as clear as HD TV, the dialogues snappy and realistic, and she displays a biting sense of humour. The whole show business angle is fascinating, as is the case for the whole series; I love it. But the romance was very problematic for me. I felt it was never given a chance to develop organically; I kept being told there were sparks where I felt none; I felt no chemistry between Griff and Freddy. There was this whole theatre story to be told and there had to be a romance. Freddy was interesting; at 23, she is at a crossroads: should she do what she really wants or what is expected of her. Her romantic interest, Griff, to be polite, left me cold; I found him completely lacking in charisma, stiff, mostly unpleasant and unengaging; to put it bluntly, I found him exceedingly dull. We're never told how old he is; his brother Charlie is 26, Griff is older, but how much older? To me, he seemed much, much older. I presume he is in his thirties, but I saw an old fuddy-duddy. Also, Freddy is 23; Charlie 26; and it's written, at some point, that he is "several years older" than her. I beg to disagree: three years is literally a couple of years plus one; that does not constitute "several". There are numerous characters, and while it's not difficult to keep track of who's who, I got the impression that the author was setting up an entire series, with all the subplots for at least a few more enemies-to-lovers books down the line. I did love Charlie and Dylan; they were entertaining and charismatic, if very different. At around 30%, I started to get bored, and I don't quite know why. Possibly because the romance failed to captivate me or because so many subplots started to crowd the main plotline. There's the obligatory mean girl, whose meanness should have been limited to a couple of characters instead of being mean "because". The promising mystery became extremely convoluted, and one big reveal was so farfetched, I can't believe someone would be so stupid. Then around 75%, I grew increasingly annoyed at all the drama; it was one thing after another, the intrigue was bogged down in superfluous details and the mean girl's shenanigans; I thought the book would never end. This along with the overlong epilogue and its fairytale solutions had me shave a star from my rating. Freddy grew as a character, but Griff very little: he never did anything about his problems with his parents; it was magically resolved, and part of it was rather puzzling with regards to another character. I love Lucy Parker's writing and her priceless insights in the world of theatre and show business, but will I read another book in this series? At the moment, I doubt it. THE AUSTEN PLAYBOOK had all the ingredients for a fabulous story, but it just didn't work for me.
onemused 3 months ago
"The Austen Playbook" is a charming romance/mystery that delves into family secrets. Freddy is an actress, largely because it's the family trade. Her grandmother, Henrietta, had a notorious affair, acting and writing during that time and resulting in a theatre being built in her honor. Her father was an actor and then, after his injury, became a writer also. Freddy is somewhat at her father's whims when it comes to her acting. However, she is able to slip a less dramatic and more fun role in while he is away on business. The Austen Playbook is a play that will have a choose-your-own style plot. The audience will vote for how it will go. Freddy will be playing Lydia Bennett, and though she is not sure what the casting says about what people think of her, she is excited to be getting some lighter acting fare. The play will be performed at the theatre that was built for her grandmother, which is located on the family estate of the man with whom her grandmother had her infamous affair. The estate is now run by Griff, a critic who has ripped Freddy apart in the past. As they begin spending time together on the estate, their attraction is undeniable. Griff is also working on his own script about Henrietta and his grandfather's affair- however, mysteries are arising from his research and may pull out family secrets that have been buried. With these mysteries adding some fun on top of the delicious Austen-like banter, this book is fast-paced fun. The romance is a small element to the overall engaging plot. With the theatre taking front and center to the intrigue of lives current and past, this is a fun book that Austen fans will really enjoy. I would recommend for people who like family mysteries, drama, and banter. Please note that I received a copy from the publisher. All opinions are my own.