Publisher: Regal Crest Enterprises
Caidence Harris is a second tier actress in a TV cop program called 9th Precinct. Then again, everyone is second tier when compared to the star and Caid's best friend, Liz Stokley, former child star and public darling. The show is a popular spin off from a series about a law firm called In Their Defense and it's common for the stars of both shows to make crossover appearances. That is how Caid meets Robyn Ward. Robyn is very beautiful, very talented and very adored by the fans. She's also very much in a relationship with popular tennis star Josh Riley or so it appears to the world.
Caid has finally accepted the idea that she is a lesbian and that she is attracted to Robyn, but she doesn't think she can act on her feelings. Caid's fascination with Robyn grows each time that they appear in a show together, but she thinks the situation is hopeless until Liz proposes the idea that a lesbian storyline should be introduced into the series and the producer picks Caid and Robyn for the roles. As the women are brought together more and more, a friendship develops and Caid realizes that the relationship Robyn and Josh share has advantages for both of them, but romance isn't one of them.
Caid believes she can make a life with Robyn, but complications abound. Both women are deeply in the closet to protect their careers. They have to sneak around to see each other, which isn't easy for people who are constantly being followed by the paparazzi. They can't confide in friends, family or co-workers when their own self-doubts threaten to destroy the relationship. Throw in a murderous stalker, angry family members and a public that begins to hate Caid because it thinks she's trying to steal Josh from Robyn and the reader will wonder how or if these two can work out the situation to be together. For every step forward, there are two steps back as the book winds through the twists of the story, keeping the reader wondering what will happen.
This is a well-crafted story. The plot flows smoothly and the characters interact in a convincing manner. Robyn does not immediately unveil her true sexuality and jump into bed with Caid.
When the women begin their relationship, they are not "out and proud" to the whole world, thumbing their noses at society. Instead, this is a very real picture of women who want to be together but believe, quite correctly, that it could cost them careers and positions that both enjoy. Their struggle to work the situation out will be familiar to people who deal every day with occupations that do not allow you to be truthful about who you are. This is refreshing since most lesbian novels take the approach that most of society doesn't care how you live your private life. That might be appealing fantasy, but doesn't relate much to the lives of many lesbians.
The extended length of the book gives the characters a chance to really develop their personalities and allows for events to play out over a believable time line. There is also an interesting view of the role of the press in the lives of the famous, how it can be manipulated and some of the problems it can cause. And there is a scene where Caid is attacked by a deranged fan that is harrowing in its detail.
And Playing The Role Of Herself is a very satisfying read. There are some holes. There are some interesting family members for both women who could have been explored more since they play pivotal parts in the story. Also, Robyn keeps rushing to Caid's side when there are crises and no one suspects her anxiety for being more than that of a "friend." Overall though, everything fits together and you'll find this worthy of your time.