Playing the Part

Written by Jen Turano
Review by Elizabeth Caulfield Felt

In 1882 New York City, actress Lucetta Plum must flee the city when an obsessive admirer comes after her. Friend Abigail Hart helps Lucetta to hide by taking her to Ravenwood Castle, where she hopes the actress will fall in love with her grandson, Bram. Allegedly haunted, Ravenwood is an odd place, with a mausoleum for a gatehouse, a goat that chases anyone in a dress, and cannon-shooting servants. Even before meeting her, Bram had decided that Lucetta is the one woman he can love; Lucetta has no interest in men who believe she is the characters she plays on stage.

Playing the Part is a fun romance. Lucetta is a charming heroine, and Bram is both dashing and delightfully dopey. Ravenwood and its many residents are absurdly wonderful; every character is quirky and engaging. I laughed out loud, over and over, at the myriad of crazy situations. The historical details are light and the dialogue is a little anachronistic, but the writing is so clever, readers won’t care. This is marketed as a Christian romance, but the references to religion are rare and non-obtrusive to the story and character development. Delightful fun.