And Playing The Role Of Herself by KE Lane holds an especially dear place in my heart because it’s the very first lesbian romance I ever read. I didn’t even know they existed, and this book was my gateway drug.
Caidence Harris has finally made it in Hollywood and is happy with her steady gig playing a detective and sidekick on 9th Precinct, a popular police procedural. Sometimes she has to share her trailer with Robyn Ward, a model turned actress who sometimes plays a defense attorney on the show. If she could just stop blushing and giggling and generally making a fool out of herself every time Robyn is around, life would be so much easier. After all, Robyn is straight and involved with tennis superstar, Josh Riley.
Caid and Robyn strike up a friendship and enjoy their time off the set even more than when they’re working. But when the season finale calls for an explosive encounter including a kiss between them, Caidence realizes that maybe the attraction isn’t one-sided and that Robyn isn’t as straight as she thought.
Tara: And Playing the Role of Herself is told in the first person from Caidence’s perspective. She’s funny, self-deprecating, and very sweet, and it’s easy to see why she’s able to break through Robyn’s walls. Her voice is so distinct and clear that I found her very relatable, especially as she moves through the murky waters of finally confirming her sexual identity as a lesbian. She has some anger issues and a hot temper, which often isn’t attractive, but feels very honest.
I appreciate that K.E. Lane gives us a full concept of who Robyn is, despite the story never being told from her perspective. Robyn is driven in her career, going from strength to strength as an actress. Her deep friendship with Josh, a former boyfriend, allows her to pursue flings with women on the side until she becomes involved with Caidence. She’s guarded at the beginning of their friendship, and gradually opens up as they become closer, giving her the most drastic character arc of the book.
Liz Stokley, Caid’s best friend and star of 9th precinct, is my favourite side character. She’s brassy, beautiful, and has no filters, yet is still very sweet to the people she cares most about. I occasionally imagined her as Joan Blondell in Desk Set, but younger.
The Writing Style
Tara: And Playing the Role of Herself has an easy style that I found entirely charming and engaging. The romance is compelling and complete, with very tame sex scenes. You can recommend this book to your straight friends and family if they want to dip their toes in the lesbian romance scene.
Erin: Lisa Cordileone is a brilliant narrator. This is not going to be a surprise to anyone who has ever listened to her work before, but this was my first ever audiobook, and honestly… I had no idea it would be possible, but she made me love the characters and this story even more. In particular, her take on Robyn made her infinitely more attractive to me than she was before I listened (if you don’t believe me, check out the Les Do Books podcast episode I did with Tara that discusses this book). The attention to detail that the Publisher has paid as well makes this book really come to life in a whole new way. A terrific take on a story that was published more than a decade ago. The pacing and tone Cordileone uses is perfect, and the voicing of individual characters is exactly what I didn’t know I wanted to hear.
Tara: Easy to read, relatable characters, and it leaves us with a believably established relationship.
Erin: This is a great starter audiobook. As someone who was hesitant to try them, I found the narration really easy to listen to. If I’m honest, my hesitance to listen to sex scenes in particular was overcome by professional narration and (because I knew the book) what I knew to be the tame material she had to work with. Definitely a great first step for anyone worried about whether this format will work for them.
Tara: I don’t know if this is actually a con, but Caid has so many bad things happen to her, it’s almost like she’s cursed. That, more than anything else, pushed the boundaries of believability for me.
Tara: I love this book and you probably will too if you haven’t read it yet. It’s one of the best lesbian romances about celebrities falling in love and well worth a read.
Erin: Absolutely the audio version of this book is worth checking out. It will only enhance the story for those that have read and enjoyed it already, and it well exceeded my expectations.
Excerpt from And Playing The Role Of Herself by KE Lane
“Caidence?” She leaned back, draping a long arm across the back of the couch and regarding me with a look she’d begun to favor me with recently—a secretive little smile that was a mixture of amusement, curiosity, and taunting.
I was starting to think that perhaps Ms. Ward was quite aware of the effect she had on me, and enjoyed watching me make an idiot of myself. “Uh, sorry. Spaced out there for a second.” I smiled wanly, took a last swipe at my face, and turned around to face her.
“I can relate, believe me,” she said with a tired smile, and stretched out her legs to their full length— which took up nearly half of the room—crossing them at the ankle. “So, what’s your opinion of Kreizeck? I haven’t had to work with him yet, but I have three scenes today. I talked with Liz, and she said he was fine, but Danny said he was an ‘effin’ looza.’ ”
She mimicked the actor’s New York accent flawlessly and I laughed, startled by a less serious side of the normally very reserved woman; a side that I didn’t see very often. The laugh was spontaneous, and seemed to take us both by surprise, probably because my laughter in her presence usually sounded slightly giddy or hysterical, like a twelve-year-old girl hopped up on Pop Tarts and Ho-Hos.
Hey, maybe I could behave like a normal adult around her, after all.
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Bits and Bobs
- ISBN number: 9781932300727
- Publisher: Regal Crest Enterprises
- Audiobook Publisher: Dog Ear Audio
- Narrator: Lisa Cordileone