PRETENDING WITH THE PLAYBOY - Tracey Livesay
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REVIEWER: Susan Plummer | RATING: A
REVIEW: Pretending With The Playboy by Tracey Livesay portrays a tortured hero too imprisoned by his past, to fall in love.
Carter Richardson left Chicago to escape the yoke of the family business and settling into a relationship he thought would devastate his life when it inevitably failed. Yet, he rushes home when his favorite aunt falls gravely ill. Carter’s aunt is resigned to her fate but wishes he was settled in a loving relationship. In a moment of temporary insanity, Carter announces his engagement to her assistant. Lauren Olsen is shocked by Carter’s declaration. She has lived with the Carter family since her parent’s death and now works with his aunt but Carter has never shown any interest besides mild tolerance. He once shot down her naïve attempt to seduce him. As the charade plays out, Lauren is unable tell if Carter is just a good actor or is beginning to truly care. It seems fate has caught up with Carter when a power play threatens the family business. He faces the same decisions he fled years before. Taking over the family legacy and exploring passion with the woman who sparks emotions which make him both vulnerable and invincible.
Pretending With The Playboy grips the attention from the opening paragraph and the intensity continues throughout.
The character development for Carter and Lauren is truly outstanding. At first, Carter is selfish and self-centered. Lauren expresses it best when she tells him: “You’re a grown man with the stunted emotional maturity of a seventeen-year-old.” Carter later experiences a remarkable metamorphosis and performs several selfless acts. Lauren also suffers from an unhealthy habit of needing to conform after losing her parents. In the end, she realizes self-acceptance is ultimately most important.
Chicago represents Carter’s past; Washington his present. Choosing either requires some form of sacrifice. The dialogue is particularly interesting as initially Carter gives Lauren many mixed signals. Lauren on the other hand, is unable to hide her feelings. As the story progresses there is a notable shift as finally Carter acknowledges his feelings but by then Lauren is skeptical due to his inconsistencies.
I found the author’s ability to show how perspectives can differ and ultimately affect one’s life most extraordinary. When Carter turns Lauren down he believes he was doing the right thing by not getting involved then leaving. However, Lauren sees Carter’s action as rejection; which feeds into her existing insecurities. By trying to save her from heartbreak, he breaks her heart anyway. Pretending With The Playboy follows The Tycoon's Socialite Bride and both novels show characters with great lives who lack life’s most important thing; love.
10th February 2015 | firstname.lastname@example.org