Playing the Long Game

An Enemies to Lovers Romance

Romance - Contemporary
232 Pages
Reviewed on 09/16/2021
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Susan Sewell for Readers' Favorite

A housekeeper's teenage daughter vows revenge on the wealthy bachelor that ruined her love life in the romance novel, Playing the Long Game: An Enemies to Lovers Romance by Sophie Penhaligon. Living on the Cavendish estate since she was three years old, Ellie Moreland spent her childhood watching the Cavendish brothers, Leo and Felix, from the shadows. From as far back as she can remember, the youngest brother, Felix, fascinated her. She dreamed of marrying him while kicking the scowling older Leo off the premises. When Ellie turned eighteen, Felix started meeting her secretly in the summerhouse. Believing he loved her, Ellie made plans to move to Paris with him. However, Mrs. Cavendish and Leo thwart their plans by sending Felix to Paris alone and paying for Ellie's schooling. Seven years later, Leo enters her life again, and Ellie is furious. She is determined that Leo won't have any control over her life. But something about him is different. Has Ellie misjudged Leo all these years? Can she resist his charming appeal?

Playing the Long Game: An Enemies to Lovers Romance by Sophie Penhaligon is an enchanting and unforgettable story. Reminiscent of one of my all-time favorite movies, the 1995 remake of Sabrina starring Julia Ormond, Harrison Ford, and Greg Kinnear, this story is far more charming and heartwarming. Feisty and strong-willed, Ellie's character has a natural feel, making her relatable. Leo's admirable strength of character and appealing personality make him a superbly lovable hero. Entranced from the first page, I didn't put the book down to eat dinner or do anything else until I finished it at midnight. Everyone who loves a little adversity in their romance will not want to miss this stunning novel. Due to mildly intimate scenes, the story is more suitable for a mature reader.

Pikasho Deka

Sophie Penhaligon's Playing the Long Game is a contemporary romance novel. Ellie Moreland's mother is the housekeeper for the Cavendish family estate. All Ellie wants is to have her place amongst the rich and powerful, and she forms an ambitious plan to seduce the youngest Cavendish son to achieve her dreams. However, things don't go according to plan, and heartbroken and lost, Ellie finds herself sent to study architecture far from the love of her life. Years later, Ellie returns home to attend her mother's funeral, only to find herself reconnecting with the oldest Cavendish son, Leo, a man she despised all her life. Vowing never to love again, Ellie finds herself falling for the very man she never wanted to face ever again.

Author Sophie Penhaligon infuses the narrative with a delicious mix of romance, humor, and drama to create an enthralling love story bound to entertain lovers of romance novels. Filled with compelling characters and witty dialogue, Playing the Long Game is a delightful treat that you can't get enough of. The chemistry between Ellie and Leo is palpable, and every scene involving the two is a joy to read. The backstories add a ton of depth to the characters, and you find yourself actively rooting for them to end up together. This is slow-burn storytelling at its finest, and the pacing makes the characters somehow feel more grounded. I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of humor sprinkled throughout the pages and enjoyed every moment of it. I would recommend this book to anyone interested in romance novels.

Sherri Fulmer Moorer

By the age of 16, Ellie Moreland has one goal: overcome her humble roots as the daughter of a housekeeper to become the lady of the manor. How? By marrying the younger son of her mother's employer, of course! Felix Cavendish is the perfect man for her: handsome, spontaneous, joyful, and charismatic. When they spend the summer after her graduation in a steamy love affair, she thinks it's all set, especially when he invites her to go to Europe with him. But then the unthinkable happens: Mrs. Cavendish and his older brother, Leo, arrange to send her to college at Cornell. It's the best architectural school in the nation, and she can attend debt-free. The only catch is that she will never see Leo again, as he's been sent to school in Paris. Will their paths collide again later in life? Playing the Long Game by Sophie Penhaligon tells an amazing story of how you can learn about love from the unexpected turns of life.

I don't normally read romance novels, but I'm glad I gave Playing the Long Game: An Enemies to Lovers Romance a chance. It's a solid, fast-paced story, and I think we can all relate to how Ellie feels being on the outside looking into the life she wishes she had. Sophie Penhaligon tells an amazing story about finding contentment in life and pursuing your dreams, as well as keeping yourself open to life, love, and opportunity. The characters are realistic, and I'm impressed at how they grow and develop along with the story throughout the novel. This is an excellent book, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.