Pretending: A Novel

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April is fed up with the world of dating. Every time she thinks she has found a man who might be long-term relationship material, something happens and the relationship fizzles and dies. April hates men, she really does, and she hates even more that she seems to need one so badly. In a moment of frustration, she initiates a twisted experiment: she creates for herself the persona of what she believes is the ideal date. Gretel, as she calls herself, is beautiful, low-maintenance, breezy, not clingy at all, and free of drama and problems. April finds it fun and strangely liberating, but then she starts to actually fall for Joshua, who knows only Gretel and very little about the real woman hiding inside.

Holly Bourne’s novel Pretending initially seems like it’ll be a fun, flirty read about a woman catching a man by pretending to be something she’s not. And it is, but really this book is so much more. It should probably come with a trigger warning somewhere in the description, as April works for a nonprofit that regularly assists victims (and perpetrators) of sexual assault, and as a survivor herself, April really struggles at times with flashbacks and an intense amount of (unwarranted) guilt and shame. Darker subject matters aside, Gretel really is a fun character, and it’s delightful to see April getting to live outside herself a bit. This is a great story and is highly recommended.

Reviewed By:

Author Holly Bourne
Star Count 5/5
Format Trade
Page Count 416 pages
Publisher MIRA Books
Publish Date 2020-Nov-17
ISBN 9780778331506 Buy this Book
Issue March 2021
Category Popular Fiction


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