The Playhouse by Katey Hawthorne

The Playhouse by Katey Hawthorne
Publisher: Loose Id
Genre: Paranormal, Contemporary
Length: Short Story (117 pages)
Other: F/F, Toys
Rating: 3 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

Summer has been Lily McBride’s favorite time of year since she was a kid, because that’s when the Brookesville Playhouse opens its doors. Now that she’s an adult and works as their tech director, Lily wants more for her beloved Playhouse: a larger audience, a longer season, and exciting shows to draw new patrons.

This year, though, she also wants Genevieve Mason, a pretty starlet-in-the-making from the local university, recruited for the season’s tech crew. Genny throws her heart and soul into the place too, adding her own dreams of representation to the ‘must-have’ list, and using her sweet voice and surprising flare for pyrotechnics to draw the crowds in droves. They work so well together, it’s not long before their summer crush blossoms into a steamy affair.

Lily’s falling hard, but always feels like Genny’s holding something back. And then there’s the dreaded Brookesville Arts Council—supposed to be a support system for all things cultural, instead dragging the Playhouse down with their old-fashioned stubbornness. There are a lot of hurdles to jump and egos to deflate before they can get what they want, both for the theater and from each other.

There’s something to be said for a summer fling. If only Lily knew if this was what she was having or if something else was going on with the mysterious Genevieve.

It was nice to see so much time devoted to introducing Lily and Genevieve to the audience before anything happened between them. I got to know both of them pretty well during these introductions. I also had a chance to see how they interacted in platonic settings. Both of these factors made the events of later chapters even more gratifying than they might have been otherwise.

I had trouble keeping track of how all of the characters knew one another. Some of their connections weren’t revealed right away which was confusing. Having that information earlier on would have made it much easier to remember who was who, especially when it came to characters that only popped up occasionally. If not for this issue, I would have given this story a higher rating.

The paranormal subplot was nicely done. At first I wondered if this book had been mislabeled because this part of the storyline didn’t show up right away. It was worth the wait, though, once I realized what Ms. Hawthorn had been building up to all along. Including this twist made sense out of certain things that I’d initially found puzzling due to how often the plot jumped around, so seeing how the paranormal scenes fit in with everything else was satisfying.

I’d recommend The Playhouse to anyone in the mood for a tale that heats up slowly.

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