Two rival TV presenters band together to combat low ratings in Headliners, a triumphant achievement for contemporary romance phenom Lucy Parker.
Sabrina Carlton and Nick Davenport have a history. They’ve been sniping at each other via their respective TV shows for years, and fans of Parker’s London Celebrities series will already know about the colossal way Nick messed up in the previous installment, The Austen Playbook. To save both of their tarnished reputations, Nick and Sabrina have to co-host a struggling morning show and bring its ratings up by Christmas Eve.
Though Headliners wouldn’t be labeled as romantic suspense, there is also a whodunit subplot in the midst of Sabrina and Nick’s romance. Someone is out to sabotage the two presenters, Sabrina especially. The anchor, who is protective of her sister and career, already has to deal with a litany of misogynistic microaggressions from being a woman in entertainment. But soon it becomes very clear that someone is out for her job and to get her off TV entirely.
Nick is . . . everything. He has a cute dog, loves his family and job, is respectful of his budding relationship with Sabrina and the list truly goes on. If you’re worried whether Nick grovels sufficiently, I will spare you the hemming and hawing and say yes, he definitely does. His redemption arc has been worth waiting for. He does a superb grovel, but it’s the acknowledgement that his actions have consequences, the introspection he does to examine why he did what he did and how it doesn’t align with the man he wants to be that exalt him to the top ranks of swoony romantic heroes. He’s truly apologetic about his actions (which I won’t spoil for those who are in the midst of marathoning through the previous books) and aims to be a better person by fully examining his actions. Sabrina, in turn, wrestles with what she can forgive while still honoring her own pain, which is a wonderful example of strength and autonomy. What can we allow as people for the sake of growth and living a healthier life, while also respecting our own boundaries?
Headliners’ wintry London setting makes this an even more magical romance; there is just something so romantic and whimsical about falling in love amid the falling snow. (This is purely fantasy, of course, because as a glasses-wearer, snowflakes are an irritant.) But this is just another addition to the list of what makes Headliners so charming. In fact, there is one thing to make abundantly clear to readers that isn’t obvious from the cover copy. Both Nick and Sabrina are childfree by choice, a decision that may romance fans will enjoy. Epilogues in which the main couple become parents are common in the genre, so Parker’s decision to forgo showing her central couple having kids is a deliberate one.
Headliners is a superb contemporary romance. Parker’s readers, new and returning, are sure to find this one hard to put down.
ALSO IN BOOKPAGE: Read our interview with Lucy Parker.