Audiobook Review: Prince of the Playhouse (Love in Laguna #3) by Tara Lain

Driven by his desire to become a successful fashion designer and concerned with hiding his questionable past, Ru Maitland lets his obsession with action movie star Gray Anson on the big screen replace his social life. Then obsession and reality collide when Ru is asked to design fashion costumes for a special performance of Hamlet at the Playhouse in Laguna starring none other than Gray Anson. Gray turns out to be a compelling mix of shy and brash and, despite a high profile engagement to a female socialite, the signals Gray sends Ru have his libido doing the salsa.

Gray Anson has what most people only dream of—great wealth, huge fame, a job he loves. For that, he’s given up any semblance of privacy and the right to say no to the thousands of people who depend on him and the millions who love him. He sees everything he’s ever wanted just outside the bubble of his life, but how can he make the compromises needed to embrace it? When Ru’s shady past crashes into Gray’s paparazzi-haunted present, both men have to learn that sometimes the only acceptable compromise is the truth.

Narrator: K.C. Kelly
Listening Length: 8 hours 41 minutes

This book was better than I was expecting. Celebrities are a pretty tricky sub-genre to make work, especially ones where the main character isn’t able/doesn’t want to come out. After hearing a few other people's opinions on the book, I thought all the ‘expected’ drama was handled much better than I was expecting, however it definitely wasn’t one of the best celebrity stories I’ve read.

First let me touch on the narration, as this is meant to be an audiobook review :-P. K.C Kelly’s narration took some time for me to get used to, but it worked and I started to hear the characters in his voice. He certainly had an impressive range of character voices.

One aspect that I really struggled with was Ru’s inner-monologue. I’m assuming this would have been written in italics so it was easy to define what was spoken out loud or in his head. There are obviously no italics in audiobooks and I really struggled to figure out what Ru was actually saying out loud a lot of the time. The thing is while his narration worked, I had no desire to find reasons to continue to listen to this. It's hard to tell whether that was the story, or I just wasn’t captivated by the narration (I’m leaning towards the story), but it just wasn’t as good as other audiobooks I’ve listened too.

Ru, fabulous fashion designer and ex gang member, is obsessed with action star Grey Anson. Grey comes to Laguna Beach to perform a modernised stage play of Hamlet and there's an instant attraction between the two (well going on 3 years for Ru). Of course Grey can’t come out as gay man because it’ll ruin his career.

This had everything you think it’ll have: annoying managers, pretend girlfriends, press cover ups and hurt feelings. Like I said though, it wasn’t as dramatic as I was expecting. Both Grey and Ru were honest with each other and were both willing to do what it took to be together. This story didn’t contain bitterness on Ru’s part, which usually comes with being told to be a secret boyfriend. He thought about it, made the decision that he wanted to be with Grey regardless, and didn’t hold a grudge against Grey for that decision. While I still felt like Grey was too much of a doormat, he was constantly reassuring Ru he was most important and was continually trying to get rid of the ‘girlfriends’, and he never once kissed anyone other than Ru.

There was some ‘action’ drama with Ru and his gang connections which was OTT, but overall it was less than I was expecting, which I really appreciated. I guess this is a 3 heart and not 3.5 because it took me a month to listen to this story. It just didn’t grab me. It wasn’t bad, but wasn’t anything particularly special.

Find on Dreamspinner Press or Goodreads

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