Series: London Celebrities #2
Published by Carina Press on February 20th, 2017
Genres: Chick Lit, Contemporary Romance
Source: Publisher via Netgalley
The play's the fling
It's not actress Lily Lamprey's fault that she's all curves and has the kind of voice that can fog up a camera lens. She wants to prove where her real talents lie—and that's not on a casting couch, thank you. When she hears esteemed director Luc Savage is renovating a legendary West End theater for a lofty new production, she knows it could be her chance—if only Luc wasn't so dictatorial, so bad-tempered and so incredibly sexy.
Luc Savage has respect, integrity and experience. He also has it bad for Lily. He'd be willing to dismiss it as a midlife crisis, but this exasperating, irresistible woman is actually a very talented actress. Unfortunately, their romance is not only raising questions about Lily's suddenly rising career, it's threatening Luc's professional reputation. The course of true love never did run smooth. But if they're not careful, it could bring down the curtain on both their careers…
I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
4.5 Flapper Barbie and Backtrack Ken stars!
How do you write a review for a book you absolutely loved without sounding like a pile of mush? I’ve found a new favorite author in Lucy Parker. I know she’s only published two books so far, but I think it’s safe to say in those two books I’ve read, she’s never failed to make me smile, laugh, and feel fuzzy inside.
40-year old renowned director Luc Savage wants to get his new production rolling. With one principal actress pulling out to get married and go on her honeymoon, another falling and breaking her foot, plus countless construction issues with his family’s theater getting in the way, he’s losing his patience. He’s always been known to be a perfectionist, and that wouldn’t change with this production. Not if he had any say in it. And hiring some Helium Barbie actress to replace one of his principal actors is out of the picture. He wouldn’t stoop that low just to attract a wider demographic.
26-year old Lily Lamprey wants to break out of her current image and prove that she can act. She’s been pigeonholed in sexy roles because of her looks and sex operator voice, and her current role in a mainstream television show isn’t helping. She wants to transition into the theater scene, so she submits an audition video to the company handling Luc Savage’s new production. When a colleague tells her he overheard Luc insulting her, she gives up on that hope and loses her good impression of the director.
It comes as a surprise to Lily when the company invites her back for a callback, and an even bigger surprise when she gets the part. She doesn’t cower when she meets Luc. Like Elizabeth Bennet, her courage rises with every attempt to intimidate her. She answers his challenges with her sass, and isn’t afraid to call him out on his crap.
“What? Look at my body and mentally halve my brain size? Talk sexist sh*t in public?” She picked up her fork again, carefully examining the lines. “Wouldn’t have put you down as a hypocrite. A number of other things, but not a hypocrite.”
With every moment they spend with each other, they feel a pull that’s too hard to ignore.
Their mutual attraction is a huge problem for them. Luc doesn’t engage in non-professional relations with his cast and crew (with the exception of his ex-girlfriend whom he treated with every modicum of professionalism when they were at work) and he’s more than a decade older than Lily, and Lily wants to prove to the world that she can act and get projects without sleeping with the boss. Lily knows she got the role because she deserved it and not because she slept with Luc, but the rest of the world will accuse her of what they did her mother. But that’s another story to tell. With a disgruntled gossip monger looking for dirt to spill on Luc, their relationship will be even harder to hide.
You all know how trash I am for the cold, brooding type. Luc Savage was like catnip to me! He was quick to judge Lily based on her work on Knightsbridge, and he said some pretty sexist and condescending things that made me want to deck him. Obviously, his opinion on Lily changed, but what I really liked about it was how he was aware of how much of a d*ck he was before he started liking Lily, and how he changed because of it.
“What, it pisses you off that you were a pr*ck about her because it turns out she possesses multiple brain cells and might make you a lot of money? Otherwise, it’s open season and totally fine for the Boys’ Club to make d*ck remarks about pretty blondes?”
He has a dry wit and is hard-working and very passionate about his profession. It’s why his past relationship didn’t work out; his main priority was the theater. I had so much feels when he was with Lily and saw how thoughtful and sweet he was to her. That’s my catnip, you guys. Cold, brooding men who are actually the most loving people on earth. This is your fault, Mr. Darcy.
As much as I loved Luc, Lily won me over. She gets judged and catcalled for her looks and her role in Knightsbridge, but she never loses her grace and class over it. She’s also sweet, resilient, and hardworking. When she was growing up, while both her mother and father loved her, they weren’t there much to take care of her. Still, Lily ended up warm and caring, even if she did become a bit guarded. She also has a certain belief in love and life that I totally agree with, and it made me love her even more.
“You aren’t born half a person, doomed to drift through life unfulfilled until you find someone who can validate you. You’re a whole person with a whole life, that you might choose to share with another person. Or you might not. Your body and mind is your own. Your happiness is your responsibility and right.”
Ms. Parker writes such well-rounded and complex characters, and realistic relationships. Luc and Lily both had their motivations to work hard, and I love how those motivations were perfectly weaved into the storyline. They weren’t just afterthoughts, mentioned once then left to gather dust in the corner; they were addressed, and they’ve given the story the full-circle it deserved. Lily’s relationship with her parents and step-mom tugged at my heartstrings, and a certain scene made me more than a little teary-eyed. The story is filled with amazing dialogue and swoon-worthy chemistry.
I didn’t know much about the West End before reading the London Celebrities series, but it’s really nice to read about what goes on behind the scenes without it feeling like a guide or a Wikipedia article. It definitely made me want to read more about it.
Pretty Face is a slow-burn, standalone forbidden romance told in the third POV, but like in Act Like It, we still see a bit of what both MCs are thinking and feeling. It has medium heat–tasteful, implicit steamy scenes–little angst, and lots of witty banter not just between our main characters, but also with everyone around them.
The world needs to know about the gem that is Lucy Parker. I cannot recommend Pretty Face and Act Like It enough! I think contemporary romance readers and lovers everywhere would enjoy Pretty Face.