Book Highlight: Pretending by Holly Bourne

book highlight pretending holly bourne
Pretending by holly Bourne

Title: Pretending

Author: Holly Bourne

Publisher: MIRA

Publication Date: November 17, 2020

Genre: Women’s Fiction

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 men aren’t looking for real women—they’re looking for Gretel.

Gretel is perfect—beautiful but low-maintenance, sweet but never clingy, sexy but not too easy. She’s your 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. It’s refreshing. Exhilarating, even. But as she and Joshua grow closer, and the pressure of keeping her painful past a secret begins to build, how long will she be able to keep on pretending?

Why This Book

Simply put, I’m thankful to Pretending because it’s the first ever physical copy I’ve ever received from a publisher. I’d been a part of Harlequin’s blog tour program since it started, but they only offer eARCS. So, when I saw they had some physical copies of Pretending, I couldn’t jump on it fast enough. Fortunately, I found the description interesting, so I was more than happy to participate in the book blog tour for it. Sadly, I received the actual book after I’d finished reading the e-copy since I couldn’t wait any longer to read it (the date for my review was fast approaching), but it still remains the very first physical copy I’ve ever received, and I am most definitely very thankful.


My review: “Pretending was not at all what I expected. I thought it would be a fun, quick read that would have me smiling. It was not quick. It had tears prickling my eyes. It was heavy, so it took a few days to read as I had to put it down now and then. And yet it somehow reminded me of rom-coms. It captured the neuroses women usually have when it comes to romantic relationships. It also provided a beautifully painful account of one woman’s battle with trauma from rape.”

The Wandering Wordsmith said “overall I did find it to be an emotional and impactful read. The absolute win for this book was how April was written and the glimpses we got into her psyche and how she worked through things. Did she always take the right path or do the right thing? No, but who does.”

Sarah Collins Bookworm said “Once again Holly Bourne has managed to show what a safe, trusting relationship is. She’s created authentic characters who are dealing with the messiness of life.”

Berit Talks Books said “From the blurb I thought this was going to be a sweet fluffy Romance, definitely was not expecting the emotional journey this book took me on. April is a survivor of verbal/emotional abuse and sexual assault. I felt the heavy subject matter was handled very thoughtfully.”

Sam Still Reading | gave this a 9 out of 10, saying “The writing is brilliant, getting the balance of emotion, plot and character development just right. Bourne is able to take the reader right into April’s head and view the world as she does.”

Amazing Distance rated this a 3.75 saying “But I did like it in some parts which is one of the reasons that push me to read and the fact I want to know what happened next gives a great reason to stay with the book. I do like it but I feel the MC is quite annoying and weary on one side.”

Purchase Links

Barnes & Noble | Amazon | Apple Books | Kobo | Google Books | | Books Kinokuniya (Singapore) | Abe Books | Audible | The Gutter Bookshop (Ireland) | !ndigo (Canada) | Audiobooks | Book Depository | Empire Bookstore (Phillipines) | Booktopia (Australia) | Flipkart (India)

Check out all the other books featured this month on The Curated Bookshelf.

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