Playing the Part


Playing the Part
Jen Turano
Bethany House Publishers

Lucetta Plum is an actress on the rise in New York City, but is forced to abandon her starring role when a fan's interest turns threatening. Lucinda's widowed friend, Abigail Hart, is delighted at the opportunity to meddle in Lucetta's life and promptly whisks her away to her grandson's estate to hide out.

Bram Haverstein may appear to simply be a somewhat eccentric gentleman of means, but a mysterious career and a secret fascination with a certain actress mean there's much more to him than society knows.

Lucetta, who has no interest in Abigail's matchmaking machinations, has the best intentions of remaining cordial but coolly distant to Bram. But when she can't ignore the strange and mysterious things going on in his house, it'll take more than good intentions to keep her from trying to discover who Bram is behind the part he plays.

     This book, like nearly all of those I've read by Jen Turano, was entertaining. She has a flair for physical comedy that you don't find often in Christian historical fiction, and her characters get into the wildest and craziest situations. That being said, I think this concept went a little too far in Playing the Part. Some of the scenes were a bit of a mess, and several were just too unrealistic for me, even for a book that's meant to be nothing more than a light-hearted romp. That's a shame, for this book did have a lot going for it in the beginning- I loved the setting and the Gothic references, and the characters had potential.

     However, there were just some very strange plot choices that didn't do anything for the book as a whole, and the entire thing felt a bit too meandering and slapped together. The writing didn't always feel well-edited, and oftentimes Victorian decorum is thrown out of the window in exchange for comedic effect. Also, as an amateur actress myself, the ending was also incredibly odd to me, and I had to read it twice to make sure I'd read it correctly. Overall, I do feel disappointed because judging from the description, this is a book I really should have loved, but I didn't.

     But for all my complaints, it does have a cast of marvelous (and oftentimes hilarious) characters, and there were several great elements (secret writers! haunted houses! goats!) that kept this book far from usual Christian romance fare.

Rating: 7

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.


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