Breaking Character by Lee Winter

Rated 4.82 out of 5 based on 11 customer ratings
(11 customer reviews)

$9.99 / E-BOOK

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Read an excerpt here: pdf | epub

Author: Lee Winter

Description

Life has become a farcical mess for icy British A-lister Elizabeth Thornton. America’s most-hated villain stars in a top-rated TV medical drama that she hates. Now, she’s been romantically linked to her perky, new co-star, Summer, due to the young woman’s clumsiness. As a closeted actress, that’s the last thing Elizabeth needs. If she could just get her dream movie role, life would be so much better. The only problem is that the eccentric French film-maker offering it insists on meeting her “girlfriend”, Summer, first.

Summer Hayes is devastated when her co-star shuns her for accidentally sparking rumors they’re lovers. Now the so-called British Bitch has the audacity to ask Summer to pretend to be her girlfriend to get her a role? Elizabeth doesn’t even like Summer! Oh, how she’d love to tell her no. And Summer definitely would if it wasn’t for the fact she’s maybe a tiny bit in love with the impossible woman.

A lesbian celebrity romance about gaining love, losing masks, and trying to stick to the script.

Additional information

Publication Date

November 2018

Formats

epub, mobi, and pdf

Length

106,000 words

Language

English

ISBNs

978-3-96324-114-7 (mobi), 978-3-96324-115-4 (epub), 978-3-96324-116-1 (pdf)

Publisher

Ylva Publishing

11 reviews for Breaking Character by Lee Winter

  1. Betty Harmon
    Rated 5 out of 5

    :

    Breaking Character by Lee Winter is an absolute must-read for everyone who loves lesbian romance. I always have high expectations for any novel written by Lee Winter, because I know what an accomplished author she is. With Breaking Character, she has not only met my expectations, she has exceeded them.
    Ms. Winter obviously did her research well into what life is like under the glare of the spotlight for A-listers and even B-listers in Hollywood. The story grabs you from page one and keeps you enthralled until the very last page. The character development is perfect, both for the main characters and even the secondary ones. I really loved how Ms. Winter created such a rich back story for the characters and used it so well in the present day plot, it made the entire story more believable. And of course the book has that wonderful Lee Winter humor that we all expect in her stories.
    I admit to being a huge Lee Winter fan, and I haven’t yet read one of her books or stories that I didn’t like. Breaking Character, however, has risen to the top of my favorite Lee Winter book list, and I bet it will be on yours as well.

    I received an ARC from Ylva Publishing for an honest review.

  2. R.Swier
    Rated 5 out of 5

    :

    Lee Winter has always been a favorite author simply because she writes stories of substance;
    they contain multiple layers of depth which engages the reader from the get go.
    I loved how Summer, but especially Bess, evolved throughout the story and broke character. Elizabeth’s stuffy reserved English persona was slowly dismantled into a warmer and passionate Bess without the emotional baggage of an unrequited love tugging at her heart.
    All the relationships within this story were very interesting and multifaceted…from the directors, writers, agents, to friends, family. and colleagues. Their diverse perspectives on life, love, and work added stability but also some angst and controversy to the mix.
    I also enjoyed the story within the story. It was well executed and fun to see those scenes develop, especially with Summer’s ad-libs.
    Breaking Character was another great story that will not disappoint Lee Winter fans or any reader looking for an interesting read.

  3. Ana Leamaro
    Rated 4 out of 5

    :

    Free ARC from Ylva Publishing for an honest review.
    In all Lee Winter’s books there is always the Ice Queen and the Ice breaker. Normally the ice queens are very acerbic, snobs, arrogants, strong personalities and I love them. The ice breaker is stuburn, loyal, persistent and always look below the defensive layers. Elizabeth Thornton is our Ice queen, however in this book it’s the reputation surrounding the actress and not her personality. What I found interesting in this book is that the Ice queen is in fact extremely insecure, afraid of coming out and dominated by her mentor Grace. On the other hand Summer has the strong personality and not afraid to show it or use it.

    I’m not a big fan of Hollywood books, most of the time because the dramas are revolving around reasons that don’t make sense to me. This is one of them, ence the 4 starts and not 5. However it’s a very interesting read and I loved the characters, specially Summer’s mother.

  4. Karen
    Rated 5 out of 5

    :

    Wow is right. This book checks so many boxes and at the same time isn’t the least bit formulaic. There’s {slight} age gap, melting the ice queen, opposites attract, fake relationship, and previously unrequited love themes running all through the story so it just gets more and more interesting. I’ve been looking forward to reading this for months and it certainly did not disappoint. I can always count on Lee Winter for extremely intelligent writing with a healthy dose of humor and an amazingly well fleshed out cast of characters. Do not miss this book.

  5. Karola
    Rated 4 out of 5

    :

    ***free ARC
    Summer is the new actress in a hospital serie where Elizabeth is playing the icy doctor. Summer is beautiful, young and clumsy. How Lee Winter describes these two characters and their interactions is funny, beautiful and sometimes you think they‘re real. Some parts are maybe a little bit predictable but most of the book is great. Loved it.

  6. Carolyn McBride
    Rated 5 out of 5

    :

    This is Lee Winter’s best book yet. There is the snark and attitude we’ve come to expect from Ms. Winter’s leading ladies. Secrets and lies lurk behind every corner and before long Elizabeth and Summer have painted themselves into a corner. It’s intriguing watching how their lie evolves, grows and takes on a life of its own.

    While I cannot put my finger exactly on what makes this a better story than Lee Winter’ other works, I can tell you it is a must-read. When it finishes, you’ll wish there had been more. You’ll want to go for burgers with Summer and Elizabeth, you’ll want to tag along for Shakespeare night, just because they are such fascinating people.

    I want to re-read this again, if only to hang out with two of the best characters Ms. Winter has created.
    Yep, it’s that good.

  7. JED from Florida
    Rated 5 out of 5

    (verified owner):

    Breaking Character is the best of Lee Winter’s books so far, and considering how well she writes, this is high praise. I started reading in the afternoon and stayed up until 4 am to finish. I admit I’m a sucker for lesbian actresses and Hollywood, being that I grew up in LA., and Winter didn’t disappoint. Not only does she present the TV and film industry well, she writes a compelling story. Summer is as delightful as her name and an opposites attract to so-called “Brit Bitch” Elizabeth, aka Bess. Summer sees the woman behind the walls and risks her own career when director Ravitz is determined to cast Bess’s character as an even nastier villain. (Btw, loved that the Ravist here is as manipulative and slimy as the Ravitz in the Devil Wears Prada fanfiction where Winter writes as Red Charcoal). I don’t want to give any spoilers, but will say Winter gives us a few twists, much laughter, and a lovely romance. You won’t be disappointed.

  8. cheekybugger13
    Rated 5 out of 5

    :

    Yes. I devoured Lee Winter’s latest novel, “Breaking Character,” as soon as I got me hands on it. Now, usually, I’m not a big fan of celebrity romances although I’d read a few, solely because of who wrote them. What made Winter’s celebrity romance story different (after reading the blurb), for me, manifested in four-folds, all being me favourite tropes in romance.  First of all, it involved an ice queen. Yes, I’m a big sucker for ice queens and I’m not gonna apologise for it, so there! As readers of Winter’s books are aware, Winter’s the Queen of Ice Queens. Her personification of her ice queen characters have been nothing less than sublime. So, I just knew that this latest ice queen character whom Lee created would be divinely different than any other ones (be it hers or others’), and another one to steal me heart (which she did from the get-go!). Anyway, back to “Breaking Character”‘s resident ice queen, Elizabeth, she’s also British. Let’s see, a British ice queen named Elizabeth…. Hmm… Hey, “Queen Elizabeth,” anyone? Intriguing.  Another interesting factor was that both protagonists, Elizabeth and Summer, were celebrity actors and co-stars, where one of them was the other’s object of hero worship and desire!

    Then, there was the age-gap between them which intrigued me to no end!So, another PLUS in the celebrity romance sub-genre for me! And as if that wasn’t enough, at one point of the plot, it had an unusual fake relationship moment thrown into the mix, too! Fancy that! And the icing on the cake (for me)? It was a definitive slow-burn romance! YES! Ohhh….that always gives me the tingles because when it’s written with authenticity, I can’t get enough of it which makes me yearn for more as I devour every word until THE moment…which make me cherish the romance and its characters even more deeply. In this story, from the moment Elizabeth and Summer first laid eyes on each other on-screen (the most hilariously described SNAFU scenario I ever read yet because I could actually visualise it!), instantaneous spark flared between them, like an electrical charge, oozing chemistry so undeniable it sizzled. The slow simmering, bubbling, burning romance literally twisted me heart as I longed and yearned for that tipping point to come! I never scrolled the pages fast enough! I wanted to know! I wanted MORE! Utterly intoxicating was this exquisitely paced slow-burn romance!

    Elizabeth and Summer’s love story was not love at first sight. It was more of a hero-worship complicated by unrequited love. This is where Winter structured the romance angle a little differently than say, a standard unrequited love story between two people. Rather than focusing solely on Elizabeth and Summer’s development, there was Elizabeth’s complex relationship with her long-time mentor, Grace, which incidentally seeped into Summer’s journey, too. A triangular correlation, so to speak, but utterly captivating, refreshing to discover about human behaviours, the blurred lines of attraction, adoration, loyalty, love and desire. Speaking of ice queens, Grace was sub-zero freeze! She was the epitome of a stone-cold bitch, a ghastly force to be reckoned with. Cruella De Vil personified. Oh yeh! And Winter’s portrayal of Grace will knock your socks off! I had a physical reaction toward her (the “I just wanna wallop her!” kind, mind!), the way she was behaving, slithering her way into people’s lives to get what she wanted (you can just imagine in the cutthroat world of showbiz where egos, fame and vanity reside, how some would do anything to have them). In fact, Winter wrote it so realistically that I truly believed that Grace was this real-life great veteran actor with a shitty personality! I mean, we’ve all heard about actors like her, haven’t we? Anyway, this book is truly a celebrity (showbiz) romance, thoroughly researched to give the reader a realistic sense and feel of what goes on behind the scenes.

    Sidenote: I was utterly delighted to discover that Winter delved into the behind-the-scenes (BTS) goings-on in the making of a TV show and film! I must admit, I’ve always been fascinated with that part of showbiz when the cameras are off – human interaction, politics, mask-off personas, interdepartmental gossip. Winter clearly did her research extensively with bountiful insights and nuances of how people interacted once the cameras were off – cast and crew alike.

    Furthermore, Winter, as always, injects current events into her stories, present one included.  This time they were showbiz-related, obviously –  the dead gay trope, sapphic shipping, queer-baiting, all those PR/marketing ploys on social media. We’ve all seen them, haven’t we? Needless to say, they were perfectly portrayed and depicted around Elizabeth and Summer’s story, resonating realism on all fronts that I had to remind meself I was reading a fictional story about two fictional actors, not real-world celebrity gossip and showbiz news we see online and off about real-life actors! Yup,  you’ll know what I mean when you pick up this book and read it. Needless to say, “Breaking Character” is now the best and me favourite celebrity romance I’ve ever read, yet!

    The stunning parallels between Elizabeth and Summer’s states of mind…you simply must read their complex experiences in order to grasp the monumental effect as their paradigms shifted. The transformative journey was grounded in harsh reality. Haven’t read anything like this – this type of romance where love was not just slowly built but had to be realised first, by one party who was a little slow on the uptake (!), developed within a period of time, slowly feeding it, fanning it, sowing the seeds of attraction with decreasing resistance, encouraging more openness and courage to confront fear before finally reaping the fully developed love.

    Initially, the impression of Elizabeth’s character was reminiscent of Winter’s “The Brutal Truth” (me favourite DWP-inspired story yet!) but then she quickly came into her own. Elizabeth was not Elena. Not by a long shot. You’ll see when you read it. Especially if you’ve read “The Brutal Truth”. Yes, whilst Elizabeth, like Elena, was aloof, distant, seemingly cold, misunderstood but she was also painfully introverted and thrived on her conditioned emotional blockage. Elizabeth’s ice queen persona was not as prickly, sharp-tongued and caustic as Elena’s. In fact, there was a breath of softness about her when she was being an ice queen, exuding a touch of innocence where feelings and emotions were concerned, making her character oh-so refreshing and devilishly irresistible!

    Summer, on the other hand, was the polar opposite of Elizabeth’s quiet, introverted, shy persona. She was open, passionate and a risk-taker. Summer wore her feelings and emotions on her sleeve. She was literally an open book, which was one of the alluring qualities (imo!) that drew Elizabeth to her, which puzzled her to no end because on one hand, Summer’s carefree, openly expressive, happy, positive nature frightened her terribly, yet it was the fear of it that called to her like a moth to a flame, however much she tried to resist. That emotional and physical pull that Summer had on Elizabeth was  expressed so vividly in words that managed to project Elizabeth’s achingly desperate feelings onto the reader as that pull only got stronger and more undeniable the longer they spent time with each other or just being in the same space, breathing the same air. This longing feel….Winter nailed it so effectively with her way of expressing Elizabeth’s innermost emotions in words that invoked yearning.

    Elizabeth was essentially the antithesis of Summer. The yin and yang personas, which are always so bloody alluring, innit? Opposites attract, and all that, eh? And Winter deftly crafted their dichotomy so seductively it was insatiable, intoxicating, utterly addictive to read! I couldn’t wait to uncover just how Summer’s irresistible allure would inevitably strip Elizabeth of her ever-protective masks she had always worn all her life! Elizabeth, in some sense, reminded me of Natalya in Winter’s masterpiece, “Requiem for Immortals,” because whilst both Elizabeth and Natalya, were experienced, age-wise, that attribute unfortunately didn’t transfer into the growth and maturity of their emotional state of mind. In fact, they exuded pure innocence when it came to recognising certain feelings and emotions pertaining to love, attraction, desire, which further confounded them when confronted, obviously, which, imo, made their characters ever-so enthralling to uncover and dissect! That’s why I absolutely loved Elizabeth especially when she was trying hard to reconcile her true emotions as she felt her protective walls tumbling down, so helpless, so innocent that you just wanna give her a big hug and tell her she’d be okay if she’d just take that step toward letting go! Utterly adorable, she was!

    One of the most memorable moment was Winter’s deliciously wicked way of injecting a bit of a “fake relationship” trope onto our unsuspecting leading ladies! Yup. It was a doozy because I’ve read many fake relationships but this one truly took the biscuit (in the creative department!) because not only did this ingenious idea create an atmosphere of awkwardness between the two, it also allowed Winter to play around with this uneasy struggle between Elizabeth’s desperation and Summer’s inability to walk away from her own heart (Elizabeth), which created another layer of tension in their increasingly complex relationship! I can’t possibly elaborate more about this unexpected twist because you have to read it to experience what both of these women’s reactions were when this “bomb” dropped on them!

    Needless to say, it made for some gloriously funny, facetiously hilarious moments, not to mention, pure discomfort and awkward tension that these poor souls were feeling, especially Elizabeth because of her aloof, clueless self, this adorable child-like innocence about her that simply melted the heart, in contrast with Summer’s total candour! When it came to confronting one’s own feelings and emotions, Summer was the more astute one, obviously. And it made for some laughs during their interaction, what with Elizabeth always having this “what the fuck have I got myself into?!” expression eternally plastered on her face whenever Summer was around her! And with this “fakery” attempt solely for Elizabeth’s benefit (yup, for what Elizabeth believed to be her career-changing film role), how they actually managed to do it, not for the lack of trying, with the involvement of some of the most interesting secondary characters ever created in a story (at least for me!), was a hilarious feat, to say the least! You MUST read it – I’m fairly sure you’ve never read anything like this before when it comes to the “fake” trope involving celebrity actors, directors, publicists, managers, make-up artists, cast members, family and friends, alike!

    Oh, just you wait until you read the scene where they had to turn on their “fake” roles at the director’s home! Winter sneakily sprang some surprises in there which I totally enjoyed. It was one of the most delightfully amusing and at times laugh-out-loud scenes I’d ever read which I won’t be forgetting any time soon! Specifically, 2 uniquely original hilarity: One, Michael Jackson’s “Thriller.” OMG. That’s all I’m gonna say! And two, allergies. Just those two ingeniously crafted convos alone (one of them snowballed into even more ridiculous scenarios whilst the other had one of our protags hyperventilate from sheer panic and nervousness!), make this book a must-read! Yup, it was utterly memorable, to say the least! GENIUS, Winter! (I’m chuckling as I’m typing this because that scene…!) Bloody well done!

    And oh, let’s not forget the “twist” at the end when the secret of how this whole hullaballoo came about was finally revealed! Two words: Mischief. Managed.

    There’s one “little” quality I haven’t mentioned about Summer’s character which made her even MORE adorable and lovable than she already was: Summer was an unreservedly clumsy person. Hilarity followed whenever that part of her personality came out, invoking not just physical but verbal comedy, too! And Elizabeth’s reaction to Summer’s “unfortunate” trait? Priceless!

    I liked that Winter used the indie film “8 Little Pieces” (that was the cause for Elizabeth and Summer’s “fakery” attempt!) as a window to Elizabeth discovering just how symbolic and metaphorical it was to her own private thoughts and innermost psyche which she had locked away from her consciousness all her life, as she slowly discovered and found herself – mind, body and soul – through her relationship with Summer and Grace, on and off the screen.

    I utterly appreciated the fact that Winter spent time and effort in crafting the inclusion of all the filmmaking process, along with the utterly fascinating BTS happenings, from acting prep, make-up/costume to rehearsals and cast interaction before film finally rolled, which added another dimensional layer to Elizabeth and Summer’s character development and growth as both tried to manoeuvre their on- and off-screen relationships, especially when their sexuality was supposed to be under wraps. Speaking of which, Winter brilliantly depicted the struggles of showbiz actors who were gay and had to hide their sexuality, usually at the behest of their publicists or managers for fear of career-ending consequences, with so much realism, it was as if I was reading real-life closeted actors’ lives laid out in written detail! Clearly, Winter’s research findings bore fruit in every possible way because I was consumed by all the pandemonium of maintaining the actors’ public “celebrity” personas, in this case, Elizabeth and Summer’s, all the wheeling and dealings between the actors, their reps and the studio execs, directors, writers, producers, alike, not to mention, having to juggle their real lives, away from the limelight, when they could remove their public masks and be themselves again with their families and friends. It was as if I was a fly on the wall observing everything that was unfolding in and around Elizabeth and Summer’s lives!

    Aaand… Winter also didn’t miss the opportunity to depict the proven fact about co-stars falling in love with each other on- and off-screen… à la Elizabeth and Summer! And I can’t stress enough just how meticulous Winter was in her depiction of this utterly brilliant showbiz celebrity romance, exploring the celluloid closet through Elizabeth and Summer’s journey that you simply MUST read to explore. Every nook and cranny, every sordid detail about life in showbiz, on and off-camera, was brought to life by Winter’s superb storytelling in words and expressions that truly resonated.

    “Breaking Character,” imho, is Winter’s most personal writing, yet. Consciously introspective with a deep sense of self-reflective contemplation. The way she delved into every emotional, mental and physical layer of the protagonists’ characters, particularly Elizabeth’s, was described at a level so authentic that Elizabeth’s journey reverberated soundly, laying bare the mind and the soul as she finally found herself and the one thing she was missing in her previously well-constructed life – true love. I’d refer to Elizabeth’s deeply personal voyage of self-discovery as “The Deconstruction of Elizabeth Thornton,” really, because Winter literally dissected and broke apart every facet of her character, tearing off each mask at a time, to reveal the absolute truth that lied beneath her otherwise safely-masked facade.

    I utterly loved how Winter captured the body language, emotional struggles, dilemma and nuances that seeped through the cracks in Elizabeth’s wall of denial, fear, rejection, obliviousness vs. Summer’s wall of self-preservation, defence, unrequited love throughout their journey. Winter’s authentic portrayal of Elizabeth’s eye-opening self-discovery that finally allowed her to break character (therein lies the reason for the book title!), let go of all her masks, and start facing her feelings and emotions freely, were nothing short of emotionally rewarding, soul-affecting and deeply heartrending. Simply put, “Breaking Character” was compellingly resonating, with superb writing and memorable storytelling. Sublime.

    A resoundingly enthusiastic MUST-READ! Once again, Winter’s latest work has made me list of favourite lesfic romances! Surprise, sur-bloody-prise, eh? Hands down me favourite celebrity romance story yet! Definitely reread material for me! Elizabeth is another one of me favourite characters now, like Elena and Natalya! Bloody well done, Ms. Winter! Thank you for creating such memorable and compelling characters that I will always cherish!

  9. stephasselin
    Rated 5 out of 5

    :

    What happens when the ice queen gets rumored to be in love with her new perky co-worker? Can they pretend like this is not affecting them and their careers?

    Breaking character follows the story of Elisabeth Thornton, America’s most-hated villain star on a show named Saving Hope. Everything we read at first about this character doesn’t help us warm up to her. Just as many of Lee Winter’s villains, she somehow finds her way into the reader’s heart and doesn’t disappoint when she does.

    As for the other primary character, the overly happy Summer Hayes does a wonderful job of winning the readers hearts fast. She is a well-known young actress, who has made a name for herself in a TV show she led for a few seasons in her youth. She gets the privilege to play a role in the top-rated series Saving Hope, with Elisabeth. Summer’s clumsiness on set on her first day set them off on the wrong foot, and every scene following is a build-up to the wonderful story you’ll find while reading Winter’s words.

    Once again, Lee Winter wrote an award-worthy story with two complex and adorable characters you fall in love with. Elisabeth wins you over from her cold-hearted personality as the book goes on and she becomes a complete and intense character, whose drive adds a lot to the story. Then, you have the happy and energic Summer, whose clumsiness wins you over in the first few chapters of the book. Seeing them interact all book long is a wonderful journey. Nobody writes a loveable Ice Queen as Winter does. I’d recommend this book for its character’s progression as I’ve rarely read.

    I was once again lucky to get the chance to review one of Lee Winter’s book, especially in my ‘’newborn just got home, and I can’t sleep’’ phase. Somehow, staying up a little later to read a few pages of this book was totally worth it and given different circumstances, I would’ve read it in a single read, I have no doubts. It is a great book to get you back into reading after a hiatus and will make you want to read more.

    Personally, I think that a book written by Lee Winter is one of the few sure values I have in my authors’ list, and she once again proves she deserves to be in it with Breaking character. She takes a fairly common trope, mixing it up into a surprisingly different story than what you’d expect and writes a wonderful masterpiece.

    Grab your copy, it will be worth it.

    @RainbowMReviews
    *I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review*

  10. Terry DECKER
    Rated 5 out of 5

    :

    i really enjoyed this story as i expected. I love Lee Winter’s books and this one is as great asher others. i love her Ice queens. I actually liked Elizabeth from the start and was cheering her on with Summer. The fake relationship was funny and it was interesting how it started to get them a movie role. the only thing i didn’t like was Grace, i thought she was a royal b***h and that Elizabeth couldn’t see it. This is an awesome story and i’d recommend it to others.

    I received an ARC of this book for an honest review

  11. vermeul
    Rated 5 out of 5

    (verified owner):

    I highly recommend reading ‘Breaking Character’. Loved the plot, the insight into life in front of a camera, realistic characters & interactions amongst them and brilliant writing by a skilled author.

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