Author: Holly Bourne
Published by: Mira Books on Nov. 17, 2020
Genres: General Fiction, Women's Fiction
Source: Harlequin Books
Book Rating: 8/10
In this hilarious and heartbreaking debut novel perfect for fans of Fleabag, a woman struggling to move on after a traumatic relationship pretends to be “the perfect girl” in an act of vengeance that goes awry when she finds herself emotionally compromised.
He said he was looking for a ‘partner in crime’ which everyone knows is shorthand for ‘a woman who isn’t real’.
April is kind, pretty, and relatively normal – yet she can’t seem to get past date five. Every time she thinks she’s found someone to trust, they reveal themselves to be awful, leaving her heartbroken. And angry. Until she realizes that what men are really looking for is Gretel.
Gretel is perfect – beautiful but low maintenance, sweet but never clingy, sexy but not a slut. She’s a Regular Everyday Manic Pixie Dream Girl Next Door With No Problems.
When April starts pretending to be Gretel, dating becomes much more fun – especially once she reels in the unsuspecting Joshua. Finally, April is the one in control, but can she control her own feelings? And as she and Joshua grow closer, how long will she be able to keep pretending?
Intense, emotional and heartwrenching!
Pretending is a raw, honest, caustic tale that takes you on a journey into the life of the traumatized, suffering April as she struggles with the devastating and enduring physical and psychological effects of rape, a career that though rewarding is hard to bear, a deep desire for companionship and love, and a dating life composed of a neverending stream of untrustworthy men.
The writing is sharp and direct. The characters are complex, angry, insecure, and troubled. And the plot using a mix of narration, internal monologues, and text messages unfolds into an emotive tale of friendship, trust, consent, sexual dynamics, power, shame, self-blame, violence, denial, pain, and mental health.
Overall, Pretending is not at all what I was expecting and is quite a heavy, jaded read at times. It’s a tale that packs a punch tackling important social issues such as sexual abuse, inequality, and mental illness through a feministic lens, and yet remarkably still manages to be hopeful, insightful, and a touch romantic.
This book is available now.
Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.
Thank you to HTPBooks for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.