My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Having read the earlier books in the London Celebrities series, I was already convinced Lucy Parker was one of the best authors of contemporary romantic comedy writing today. Headliners more than affirms that. Take the opening paragraph:
A dark day in October.
There were scenes in life so gut-punchingly beautiful, they were impossible to do justice with words. Like the final rays of the falling sun, glittering across the Thames as the river turned dark and impenetrable, a silken blanket of shadows. The infinite wonder of the night sky, a stretch of potentially endless stars, the scope beyond human comprehension. Or the video footage of the biggest wanker on British television single-handedly cannonballing his career in less than three minutes.
Genius. This is classic Parker. She’s got the skills to both pull off and mock elegant, descriptive observation and an impeccable, irreverent sense of comic timing.
In Headliners the story centers on Nick Davenport (the wanker in question) and Sabrina Carlton, longtime journalistic rivals, who are forced into sustained close proximity as cohosts on a morning chat show neither one of them really wants. Sabrina and Nick are popular news anchors who used to have their own shows on rival networks but have cocked up their careers a bit with scandal. Cohosting the morning show is the network’s way of combining penance and a second chance following a merger.
Sabrina and Nick are adults, ambitious, driven and a little bit knocked around from past experience. Their primary obstacle is trust. Or distrust, rather. They have history. They’ve been professional competitors and Nick reported a story that did major damage to people Sabrina loves. There’s no big misunderstanding between them or major tricks and gimmicks. But there is a lot of banter, intelligent conversation and heat. While it isn't my favorite book in the series, Headliners is still a strong romantic comedy and better than the vast majority of its peers. The writing and character development are as sharp as they were in the previous three, and the relationship progresses at a believable pace. Parker is adept at balancing emotional depth and laughs, and I enjoy everything she writes, Headliners included.
Tropes: Enemies to lovers (big time!); Forced proximity (in multiple ways).
I received an advance review copy of this book courtesy of Carina Press via NetGalley. My opinions are candid and solely my own.
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