***Received ARC from the publisher via NetGalley***
This Jane Austen modern retelling is definitely one for your TBR pile, folks (even without reading Mansfield Park)!
Sixteen-year-old Finley Price has perfected two things: how to direct a world-class production, and how to fly way, way under the radar. The only person who ever seems to notice Finley is her best friend, the Bertram’s son Oliver. If she could just take Oliver’s constant encouragement to heart and step out of the shadows, she’d finally chase her dream of joining the prestigious Mansfield Theater.
When teen movie stars Emma and Harlan Crawford move next door to the Bertram’s, they immediately set their sights on Oliver and his cunning sister, Juliette, shaking up Finley and Oliver’s stable friendship. As Emma and Oliver grow closer, Harlan finds his attention shifting from Juliette to the quiet, enigmatic, and thoroughly unimpressed Finley. Out of boredom, Harlan decides to make her fall in love with him. Problem is, the harder he seeks to win her, the harder he falls for her.
But Finley doesn’t want to be won, and she doesn’t want to see Oliver with anyone else. To claim Oliver’s heart—and keep her own—she’ll have to find the courage to do what she fears most: step into the spotlight.
Things I loved about the book:
1. It spoke to my inner drama queen. And she definitely fell in love with the theater banter between Finley and Harlan, despite rooting for Oliver underneath it all. Drama at its finest.
2. The slow and delicious burn. I live for sitting at the edge of my seat wishing that the two main characters find their happy ending quickly, while fully enjoying the long journey taken to get there. This story was definitely a push-and-pull kind of thrill that I enjoy indulging in.
3. The love square. If you’ve read some of my reviews, you’ll notice that love triangles are mostly a hit-or-miss with me. I usually find it a very convenient (maybe even lazy) way of setting up conflict. But when it’s done right, I find myself soaring through page after page like there’s no tomorrow. For this story to build up to a love square, I was leaning more towards miss. I’ve never been more pleased to be wrong. How that love square falls into place was spun so realistically, I felt like I personified all the different emotions each party had lived through. Heck, at one point, I don’t even know who I was rooting for anymore, and that’s part of the beauty of it!
4. A heroine who grows into herself. It’s always a pleasure to see a character who evolves so beautifully throughout a story. Though Finley frustrated me in the beginning, the unraveling of her back story has definitely given her a lot of room for growth. And my, how she blossomed!
5. The fluidity of the story. Trust me, you will fly through the pages, not wanting to put this book down and wishing it would never end.
6. Chapter twenty-nine (aka that last chapter). Pick up a copy of the book to know exactly what I’m talking about. Sigh and swoon in spades!
Rating: 4.5 stars