Class Act follows the story of Rebecca and Alex, two people who have been unlucky in love. After being fired from a job, Alex moves away from London and into an area near where he grew up. He takes a part in a local theatre group and has secured a lead role in Rebecca's favourite play. They begin to date and as they become friendlier, Alex finds himself lying to her in order to make her not hate him for being born in a higher class.
In the beginning, I think the author is trying a little too hard to make Paige/ Penny seem like a bad person. She has all the stereotypes of some sort of money grabbing woman. I actually like her, especially when she's first introduced. She genuinely seems like a fun person, playful and quite (genuinely) adoring of him. The only problem at this point is that Alex seems distant and it doesn't feel like he has any care for her at all. The author goes on to make Paige seem to look like the worse person in this relationship. Originally, he had sort of wanted to break up with her, but then it turns out differently because now the author gives him "permission" to break up with her by giving Paige money grabbing traits. Paige even admits to wanting all of his money via a (stereotypical scene) overheard conversation over a baby monitor. My main problem with that is that who (in their right minds) would ever let one of their conversations be heard over a baby monitor, even by accident. It just seems like such an incredibly stupid thing for someone to do. Despite this, I still like Paige as she genuinely seemed like a great character when we were first introduced.
Another problem I found was that when Rebecca is initially in the Real Estate office looking for an old barn, she feels that the man is mentally looking down on her. She makes some very harsh judgements about him (mentally) and implies that he probably does this to everyone, but feels as if she hates him anyway. I just think this is odd because it is revealed that he's got information about how much money she has. His implications that she likely can't afford a property are very valid and that's the type of thing that a real estate agent does need to worry about. Later on, I'm about a third of the way through the book while writing this particular point, Rebecca starts judging everyone she meets, despite having been upset when she felt she was judged by the real estate agent. It gets to the point where her own judgements are much worse than the way other people have "judged" or treated her. When she meets the man male character, Alex, she's rightfully mad that he yelled at her. Yet the thing that doesn't make sense is that she sends her dog to get him all dirty, something at expense to him as he now needs to have his cloths cleaned. It just seems really nasty, in my opinion. I'd like to make the point that he also does make a heartfelt apology, that he was simply making a joke. Yet, she still treats him badly, coming off as somewhat pretentious by implying that he looks rich so that he's probably a bad person. Also, later on Rebeccas and Alex are having a talk and she starts telling him about how she dislikes wealthy people because they treated her father badly. I just think that was so pretentious to assume that all wealthy people are terrible, just because a few might have been less than nice to her father. I quite liked her in the beginning as we had a very heartfelt story about her father's death and how she was trying to follow her dreams of being an artist. Yet, her personality flaws just made me dislike her. As the story goes on, she just becomes even more prejudiced against the richer class and she keeps on trying to imply that it's Alex's fault that he was born in that position.
Alex is somewhat of a better character than Rebecca when he meets her. He seems quite genuine, despite being a little bit stalker-like. My biggest fault is that he's very weak. When Rebecca begins accusing him of lying, he didn't defend himself at all. Just as he had proposed to her, stereotypically the secret has come out through not fault of his own. She accuses him of lying. Yet, he had only just been trying to tell her the truth, if the phone hadn't rung. Not to mention, his lies weren't that bad, if we consider that all he really did was lie about his name- Alex Hunter. Yet, it's explained to us in the beginning that he was just using that as a stage name, anyway; so that the general public wouldn't confuse his being chosen for the part for his acting rather than his family name. That's a fair enough reason, in my opinion. So what if he lied about his family name? He lied about it to everyone. Yet, Rebecca makes a ridiculous and unnecessary scene, which leads me to believe that she didn't really love him. If she loved him, she would have forgiven him right away, regardless of how much he had lied to her. Going on with the weakness point, the author then writes, "He was the one in the wrong, no denying that." What? Really? That is just not true. It's very obvious to me that she's the one at fault and I just can't believe that anyone would blame him for Rebecca's prejudice.
I kind of thought that the whole Brandon storyline was unnecessary. I know that the author was trying to make it out as if she had already been ruined in love and that she wasn't ready to be with a new person. However, she was just trying to get over the loss of her father and that was enough reason to explain that she was broken. Later on, I found that it was just to further her hatred against people of high class, which didn't really make sense to me, either. The same with her problems with the Jackson storyline. I got the feeling like the author was trying to make Jackson Nettor a terrible person as well. She kept on tacking unfortunate qualities onto him as if she just wanted to make him worse and worse every time he was mentioned. If it weren't bad enough that he was an attempted rapist, he's also an inbred (as if that would be his fault) and a ne'er-do-well. Later on, she makes the decision to "fleece" him and oversell her paintings on comission. That just makes me dislike her more than I dislike him; we never get exact prices, but she didn't think her paintings were worth anywhere near that much to begin with so why be so hypocritical? The thing with Jackson, in my opinion, was really poorly written. Firstly, the author made it seem like he'd never done anything good in his life. Yet, he actually was trying to do something with himself. He was trying to follow his father's business choices by renovating a hotel of his own, which he was in charge of. He was doing that. Not his father. What if that was his dream? Rebecca had dreams, yes, but why should that mean that she has to make other peoples' dreams go badly? She kept on blaming all sorts of other people for them buying the barns, yet maybe they had plans of their own. If she couldn't afford something like that, it's hardly their fault. Why are they bad people because of that?
Overall, I didn't hate it. I strongly disliked portions like with many of the characters. Some of them were somewhat stereotypical, others being made to look worse than they really were (like Paige/Penny & Jackson). Other than that, I did kind of like the plot, but felt that the characters and overall storyline weren't suitable for what the story was really about. If we forget those portions, it was quite well written and the author has provided some good detailed scenes. When Rebecca was first introduced, I thought it sweet how she was remembering particular details about her father and the things he taught her as she was growing up. I think that maybe the death of her father and Rebecca seeking her artistic dreams got lost with the romantic/ classist aspects of novel. It's taken me two days to read it. I wasn't keeping track of time, but I suppose it was about 4-6 hours. I don't know what to rate the book. I would have said four stars originally. However, the way Rebecca's character was written made her quite unbearable and I have to drop the rating down to only three stars. I received this book as part of a First Reads giveaway and all opinions expresed in this review are my own, honest thoughts. I think that, with better plotlines and characters, this could have been a really great novel.