Lucetta Plum is an actress on the rise in New York City, but must abandon her starring role when a fan’s interest turns threatening. Lucetta’s widowed friend, Abigail Hart, seizes the opportunity to meddle in Lucetta’s life and promptly whisks her away to safety at her eligible grandson’s estate.
At first glance, Bram Haverstein appears to be a gentleman of means–albeit an eccentric one–but a mysterious career and a secret fascination with a certain actress mean there’s much more to him than society knows.
While Lucetta has no interest in Abigail’s matchmaking machinations, she can’t ignore the strange things going on in Bram’s house and the secrets he hides. As the hijinks and hilarity that Bram, Lucetta, and their friends are swept into take a more dangerous turn, can they accept who they are behind the parts they play in time to save the day?
It’s 1882 and, although her two best friends are experiencing matrimonial bliss, Miss Lucetta Plum has no desire to marry any time soon. Her career on the stage gives her an independence few women have, and she shares a residence with the well-respected Mrs. Abigail Hart. What Lucetta doesn’t appreciate is that her stepfather has gambled her away to a man with a singular obsession – her.
Playing the Part is the third title of Jen Turano’s current series. Readers of the previous books will immediately recognize the villain’s name, although I did briefly review his previous appearance and it probably does help to have read those books in order to understand some references to past events. There is much to keep the new reader entertained, however, including Bram’s castle of horrors named Ravenwood. This is an estate where the staff isn’t exactly suited to their positions, and there are dogs named Igor and Montresor as well as a goat called Geoffrey. (Guess which one is NOT an Edgar Allan Poe reference.) There’s also a hilarious scene where Lucetta – in disguise – tries out for a play to be performed by the local ladies of society, but isn’t quite up to the director’s exacting standards.
There are, of course, serious moments such as when Lucetta’s life is in danger and when she must face her past. Bram must realize that the woman he has admired on stage is very different in real life. Also, there is a dose of somber reality for the young men of Lucetta’s set when they encounter a small group of veterans, not all of whom came through the Civil War unscathed.
Jen Turano specializes in writing sharp yet humorous novels set during the Gilded Age, and I adore them all. If you love romance, drama and comedy in an historical setting these are books you simply must read.
Thank you to Bethany House and Litfuse for my complimentary copy of Playing the Part, which I received in exchange for my honest review.
This review is part of a Litfuse Publicity blog tour
Have you read Playing the Part? Do you plan to read it? Let me know your thoughts.
Publisher: Bethany House (a division of Baker Publishing)
Publication Date: 01 March 2016
Page Count: 352