Twenty year old Holly Croft, star of Portobello Road, a UK soap, is currently single after being dumped by her lover two years previously. When Holly learns that her role in Portobello Road is going to be expanded to include a lesbian love interest for her character Jasmine, she’s in a state of hype and excitement. When Holly meets Elise Manford, the actress who will be playing her lover, Casey, she doesn’t get off to a very good start with her. Elise is a bit of a live wire. She oozes confidence and gets under Holly’s skin with her unwelcome advice.
The first ever lesbian storyline on Portobello Road is a big hit with the soaps fans. Holly and Elise find themselves spending more time together reading through scripts and generally being seen in public to keep the flames burning and public interest running high.
It’s not long before Holly finds herself falling in love with Elise. Unfortunately for Holly, Elise appears to all intents and purposes to be straight. As much as Holly tries to push the real life attraction back, the tenuous line between real life attraction and life on the set between Jasmine and Casey blurs, making it hard to distinguish between fact and fiction.
I have to confess, this is the first book I’ve read from KE Payne. I don’t read many young adult books. But having read this one and thoroughly enjoyed it, this is about to change. This is a beautifully written book that can be enjoyed by any of us, regardless of age. In fact, once I started it, I couldn’t put it down and read right through to the end.
KE Payne has written a wonderful, heart warming story of love, unrequited love, betrayal, self discovery and coming out. She has also giving us a first hand insight into life on a television soap opera. From the dialogue, it was very easy to immerse myself in the story amongst the characters.
The two main characters, Holly and Elise are as different as chalk and cheese on the outside, but inside, not so different. They both have their own hang ups and secrets. I really felt for Holly, whilst at the same time feeling I could give Elise a good slap. The interaction between them both is superbly written. Both off screen and on screen. There is a wealth of different friends and colleagues backing the main characters up and moving the story forward at a nice pace.
Personally, I’d love to see more of these characters and more of the soap, Portobello Road.