Review: Pretty Face by Lucy Parker23:43
Title: Pretty Face (London Celebrities #2)
Author: Lucy Parker
Genre / Themes: Romance / Theatre actors / British
Release date: 20 Feb 2017
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My rating: 5 Stars
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 read Lucy Parker's debut novel, Act Like It, last year and have been looking forward to her next book ever since. And I ended up loving it even more than the first. Pretty Face is of my best reads of 2017. For me this story represents contemporary romance at its finest - a compelling story, engaging characters. slow burn romance with numerous twists and turns and some drama (well, a bit more than necessary) and a well deserved and fitting HEA.
I admit I'm not a big fan of age gap stories but every rule has its exceptions and this is case with Pretty Face. I found the age difference to be handled believably and it really worked well to highlight differences between the hero and the heroine. And they were quite a few, seemingly insurmountable at the beginning.
This is a story about expectations and presumptions and how their deceive us, about complex family relationships (Lily's family was just Wow! so messed up) and relationships between friends and ex-lovers and new lovers and colleagues. We also get a glimpse at the drama of the theatre/TV series world which I found interesting and done just right - not too little, not too much.
Lily is a wonderful heroine. She is trying hard to shed the image of a brainless bimbo and it's no easy given her curvy figure and breathy voice, and the role in a popular TV series which made her popular. But she is much more than people see on the screen and just because she is young and successful and comes where she comes from, people have a certain image of her. Initially we see Luc falling victim to his own assumptions and snobbish prejudice, only to gradually discover the real Lily behind the fake public image. And that was quite a journey of discovery for both of them.
Luc also has a public image (one of grumpy, heartless theatre director), yet in his heart hearts he is sweet and cares about his friends and family. Somewhat unexpectedly both for him and for Lily, she breaks through his hard facade and brings to to fore his gentler, more human side.
All these discoveries and revelations happen through some fun banter and comic situations. We see some complex, nuanced characters in an intriguing plot finding their way towards each other and it's a pleasure to follow along. Lucy Parker is a masterful writer that draws you into the story and keeps you invested in it till the very end.
There were some plot twists, especially towards the end which felt a bit too much, but it's a minor thing which did not detract from my overall enjoyment of this romance. I can recommend this, together with first book in the series (they both can be read as standalones) to all fans of contemporary romance.