I was pleasantly surprised by this CR set in London in the dynamic world of the theatre/ West End. Moody, jerky actors with massive but fragile egos. Backstabbing/ drinking/ drugs/ inappropriate sex. Cruel media who are out to over-sensationalise any little thing they can get their grabby hands on.
In this hyper-real world, love and real relationships are hard to find. Who do you trust? Are they really in love with you, or just using you as a career stepping stone?
Lily, who is in her twenties, has been tied to a contract on a TV series in which she plays a sleazy, sexy, notorious character. But she is actually a talented and serious actor, and once her TV contract winds up, she tries to make her move into live theatre. But it's not so easy. People equate the air-headed TV character she is so well-known for, with her actual self. Hard to break away from.
But Lily does get an audition with Luc Savage, a 40 -year-old notoriously demanding and perfectionist stage director, who is renovating a beautiful old theatre and opening a brand new play there.
And then the magic happens. Luc and Lily connect right from the start. Luc is able to see beneath the surface to the potential Lily has to be a major star. But it's more than that. They see each other as real people, and they begin to fall in love.
It's wrong on lots of levels. Luc is so much older than Lily, and moreover he's her boss. Even before they do the deed, everyone assumes Lily is sleeping her way to the top via the infamous casting couch. They both get a whole lot of bad press, and it makes things pretty uncomfortable for them in the workplace. Both of them also find it difficult to believe this is real and to trust in the relationship.
But they do get together and finally realise they can't fight it. There are some dramatic moments along the way (no pun intended) and their friends, colleagues and family have mixed reactions to say the least. But the reality of their love and deep connection finally wins out over the obstacles.
This was actually a lovely read. I really liked both MCs, and their families. Lily's family is quite dysfunctional, but full of interesting characters who do actually do love her in their own ways. The setting with its many glimpses of backstage life and the prima donnas (both male and female) who dwell there, was fascinating.