Playing the Part or Being Yourself - Reading List

Playing the Part or Being Yourself

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Playing the Part

Jen Turano

There are times when a friend recommends a book and that is the only reason why we read it.  Of course, it gets a little difficult when a friend recommends a book because they love it, but once you read it, you are not really a fan.   That is what happened with Jen Turano's book, In Good Company. I read it after hearing from some friends that Jen Turano was such a great writer... but I was not really impressed with the book.

Recently I was asked if I would read Jen Turano's third book in the series (of which In Good Company is part of) to review, particularly because I didn't give the last book a stellar review.  After some thought, I decided it was worth it.  Partly because the summary was intriguing... I mean aren't we all playing a part?

Playing the Part by Jen Turano  a Book Review on Reading List

Story Overview 

Lucetta Plum, a friend of Harriet and Millie, is an actress who has worked hard to be an independent woman, well as much as is possible in the regency era. While she technically resides with Abigail Hart, she keeps up a steady income and even has received a nice inheritance... which is actually going to cause her some serious problems.  As her fame starts to attract attention, that attention comes as both good and bad... Lucetta is soon running from one specific fan who is overly infatuated and demanding.  Of course, Abigail is more than happy to assist Lucetta and suggests hiding out at her grandson's castle... 

Bram Haverstein, Abigail's grandson, is a complex man who has a compassionate heart for those who are desperate for a second chance in life.  He has put together a wonderfully eclectic staff of misfits in his very own castle.  While he is from a wealthy family, he has dreams of his own, dreams he isn't ready to share with others. As a result, he is more than comfortable to live fairly secluded in his castle. So when Abigail shows up with the famous Lucetta Plum his somewhat secluded life is subjected to intruders he didn't know he always wanted. 

The issues become complicated as Bram's private life starts to cause suspension and Lucetta's stage life leaks into the picture. 

Personal Likes

For me, Bram made this story worth reading. He is the exact gentleman one would expect to find in a Regency-era romance, yet there is a side to him that is surprising too. He wants to provide and help those around him, yet he can get sucked into his imaginative thinking entirely and loose track of time... if I say more I'll give away the whole plot twist...  Needless to say, when he is in a scene it captured my attention simply because he was a well-developed character.

I also felt like Turano's humor showed through in a much more acceptable light in this story.  I had been told she wrote humor well, and while I could get a small taste for it in the previous story, this book lived up to what I had originally hoped for.  There are some silly plot twists that will certainly make you smile, if not laugh out loud at the ridiculousness of it.

Playing the Part by Jen Turano a Book Review on Reading List

Personal Dislikes

Maybe it's this genre, but the heroine of the story is just too predictable for me.  A woman who wants to be strong and independent in a time when women were barely seen as people, yet in the midst of her attempts to be strong she forgets that she still needs to be loved.  The dichotomy of it was a little much.  Yes, she is a wonderfully strong female lead who knows what she wants.  Then at the same time, she feels like there is a part of her that isn't seen because if she shows it she will be seen as weak.

As far as that goes, while there are small humorous twists, the whole plot is easy to see coming.  This book fits exactly in the clean romance genre, especially for regency-era stories.  In fact, I would even call this a modern romantic comedy set in the regency era.  The issue I always have with these stories is that the main character desperately wants something, and if she/he would only ask, it would be so much easier. Instead, the character stubbornly tries to do everything on their own, flat out refusing the help of others in a way that comes across as childish if not downright ignorant.

Reading List Rating

three heart rating on Reading List

I can give this book a three heart rating - it was good, and at times quite enjoyable.  As far as actually reading it again, well it's not quite my favorite genre. 

My Suggested Audience

I would highly suggest this to fans of the classic romance novel (like Wuthering Heights) and even those who love all romantic comedies (I'm thinking fans of Notting Hill...).  This is a completely clean romance and while there are small instances of violence, and threatening behavior, the book is very typically Christian romance.   As far as ages... I'm thinking if you are reading classic romance novels, this can fit right in. 

Wondering Questions to Consider

Lucetta is struggling mostly with finding who she is off the stage - how she can portray herself honestly to those around her while still being respected.  How often in life do we portray ourselves one way in public and yet wish we could be more of ourselves in the process?  Bram, while being secure in his behavior, is struggling with sharing the truth about his career dreams with his family for fear he would not live up to their expectations.  How often do you hide your dreams from those who love you simply because you fear their reactions?

"It was rare to see genuine kindness in the world, and yet..." #PlayingthePart @Reading_List1

Are you a fan of Christian romance novels?  Is the Regency Era your thing?  If you've read Jen Turano's books, what did you think?  

I'd love to hear from you, please leave me a little note!

Marissa @ Reading List

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