Jacob Proffitt's Reviews > Pretty Face

Pretty Face by Lucy  Parker
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it was amazing
bookshelves: audiobook, romance, steamy

I finished this over a month ago, so I've lost some details. Not the important ones, though.

While part of a series, you don't really need the first to enjoy this one. I know because I completely forgot who the characters in the first were and didn't really care because I was totally into these two characters.

The age difference in this one is on the extreme end (it exceeds the squick formula*) and I knew intellectually that would be a hurdle for the author to get over. She managed it so effortlessly it astonished me. And not by ignoring it, either. Parker brings it up as a part of the concerns in the relationship, but really, other concerns were so much bigger this one barely registered. I mean, he's her boss in the theater and she is famous for playing a character who used sex to get ahead so she really can't afford even a hint that she might have gotten this job through sexual favors. And he knows it. So even as he comes to care about her, the best thing he can do to help her is stay very far away.

With all that very legitimate pressure to stay apart, the adept handling of the forces driving them together is nothing short of outstanding. Lily is perfect for the role Luc needs her for in his stage production, but only if she can get her voice trained to the quality she'll need for playing it in the theater. That means Luc needs to spend the time arranging and coaching and monitoring her progress to ensure the success they'll need. And Lily needs to knock the initial reviewers' socks off. Which she can but only if she's ready in time. So they are working towards a common goal and through that time together find how very compatible they are together.

And how can an older guy relate to a woman so much younger than himself? Through sharing an avocation and deep interest in some subject—the deeper the interest, the better this is able to cross other categorical boundaries. Parker shows us how much both love everything to do with the theater and acting. This goes beyond mere profession and into a passion that studies and analyzes and discusses. And that's what gets these two into trouble. So few people have the deep understanding and compatibility on this axis that finding the one who "gets it" is compelling on a completely engaging level. Add sexual attraction and the romance becomes something all parties (I include the reader) are desperate to see to fruition.

So I was deeply interested in the main characters and very much wanted to see them win out. Parker did a great job on this and I can't help giving it all the stars.

A note about Audible: I listened to an audible reading of this and let me tell you, this was a challenging book to pull off. Believing in the plot means believing in Lily's need for voice training. And that means Morag Sims had to pull off both the before and after state of her speaking voice. i.e. a good voice to begin but with a minor problem that would magnify on stage that Lily learns to control and project. This is beyond subtle and that Sims makes it work detectably was tribute to her very formidable talent.

A note about Steamy: I forget the count, but it was reasonable and thus in the middle of my steam tolerance. I'd be surprised if a reread revealed the number to be higher than three. I do recall that they worked well to both illustrate and dismiss age concerns in the story, so I can say that they're well-done and contribute important details to the story.

* The squick formula: (age / 2) + 7 = minimum age of dating partner
So since Luc is 42(?), dating someone younger than 28 (42 / 2 = 21 + 7 = 28) triggers "concerns". Lily is 26.
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Reading Progress

March 1, 2017 – Started Reading
March 7, 2017 – Finished Reading
April 11, 2017 – Shelved as: audiobook
April 11, 2017 – Shelved
April 11, 2017 – Shelved as: romance
April 11, 2017 – Shelved as: steamy

Comments Showing 1-11 of 11 (11 new)

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message 1: by Marlene (new)

Marlene I've never heard of the squick formula before! Fascinating!

Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽ Did you make up the squick formula or find it somewhere? It does work pretty well ... even though it allows for a 70 year old to date a 42 year old. :)

Jacob Proffitt I didn't make the formula up, but I glommed onto it rather hard once I heard it. I wish I remembered where I first encountered it...

And lets face it, at a certain age, everything is squick...

Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽ Yeah, the formula breaks down a bit at the upper end, but overall it works surprisingly well!

Jacob Proffitt Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽ wrote: "Yeah, the formula breaks down a bit at the upper end, but overall it works surprisingly well!"

Yeah, that's why it stuck in my head. It's particularly sharp at the low end and it scales remarkably well into the middle years.

steph The way Morgan Sims narrates this book - especially in regards to Lily's voice was fantastic. I didn't even realize that she consciously changed Lily's speaking voice once the voice training began until your review mentioned it and I took a second and thought about it. Because you are right, she totally did but it was so seamlessly it didn't even register. That was really well done.

Jacob Proffitt Yes. Just an incredible talent!

message 8: by Marlene (last edited Jul 02, 2019 07:14PM) (new)

Marlene I just recently read a book by Dick Van Dyke, and in it he talks about his current wife. He married her in 2012. He was 86 and she was 40.

So.... "(age / 2) + 7 = minimum age of dating partner"
86/2 + 7 = 43+7 = 50
So they failed the squick test in 2012, but it sounds like they make it work. :-)

How about now?? (Or at least their ages in November 2018)
(92/2) + 7 = 46+7 = 53.
She's 47, so it still doesn't pass. :-)

Here's a link to an article about Silver's comments on their relationship.

Okay. I'm done. :-)

Jacob Proffitt Yeah, the formula is like any other guide that tries to apply standards to humans—selectively useful and prone to exceptions that may or may not apply on a case by case basis... 😀

Georgie-who-is-Sarah Give Luc and Lily 6 years and it'll be fine!

message 11: by Marlene (new)

Marlene I'd still argue that the Squick formula is pretty good. I think that Dick Van Dyke is just unusual. :-)

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