Between The Lines is kind of a modern retelling of Pride and Prejudice and it’s set on a film set where a modern retelling of Pride and Prejudice is being filmed. It sounds like it could be corny, but it actually feels a bit more like life imitating art. The plot is pure romance and it’s a lot of fun. The cast of this film flit from film sets to locations to celebrity nightclubs whilst navigating the pitfalls of teen relationships. So far, all good.
I quite liked Emma as a character. She was very sweet and very passionate about what she did for a living. She was a bit weak in places - for instance when Graham convinces her to apply for university, which she’d never contemplated doing before - but on the whole it wasn’t a turn-off. I liked the strong friendship she had with Emily. Strong female friendships aren’t something that get the spotlight on them very often, so it was good to see it being celebrated here. I also liked the story arc with her dad and stepmother and was glad she got some resolution in the end.
I was less keen on Reid. And by less keen, I really mean I really hated him.
Seeing the action from the baddie’s point of view is okay in small doses, but we saw half the book from Reid’s viewpoint and it was deeply unpleasant. He was a horrible, spoilt brat and exhibited behaviour that was utterly self-serving and occasionally a bit rapey. I never once saw him do anything that wasn’t entirely self-centred and when is evil back story was revealed at the end of the story I was utterly unsurprised. I found him so awful and he didn’t grow or develop over the book.
Reid has this ‘sad’ back story. His mum is an alcoholic and his dad isn’t home very often. Neither are abusive, they’re just a bit vacant. Well, boo hoo. Reid has his health, some friends who seem to genuinely care about him, a job that he loves and masses of money. There are plenty of people out there who have a lot worse things to contend with and manage not to act like a spoilt little wanker.
I could see what the author was doing. I really could. It was like she’d thought, ’Wouldn’t it be interesting if we saw Pride and Prejudice from Wickham’s point of view?’ And yes, it would, but P&P was never meant to be told from Wickham’s viewpoint. He’s a secondary character. An obstacle. He’s there to be the thing that temporarily prevents Lizzie and Darcy from getting together. When I started reading Reid’s awful self-justification for emotionally blackmailing Emma into having sex with him, I wanted to vomit. He was like Wickham, but that wasn’t a good thing.
It's not like Tammara Webber can't do romance. Hell, she's one of the most talented romance writers I've ever read. And my god, she knows how to write a leading man that you just want to shag into an orgasmic coma (see my reviews of Easy and Breakable). Indeed, some of the romance in this book was very good. The way Emma's relationship developed with Graham was great. I didn't ship them at first, but as the story progressed I really wanted them to end up together and kept shouting to Emma (in my head) to kick Reid to the kerb. And then throw a grenade on him.
I’m giving this book three stars. If Reid had been a more sympathetic character, or had grown or changed even just a little bit over the course of the story it would have gotten four stars, but as it was it was only Tammara Webber’s lovely writing that saved this from being a DNF.