The Great Pretenders

The Great Pretenders

The daughter of Hollywood royalty, Roxanne Granville is used to getting what she wants--even if she has to break the rules. But after a falling-out with her grandfather, a powerful movie mogul, she has to face life on her own for the first time....Roxanne forges a career unique for women in the 1950s, becoming an agent for hungry young screenwriters. She struggles to be ta...

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Title:The Great Pretenders
Author:Laura Kalpakian
Rating:

The Great Pretenders Reviews

  • Renee Rosen

    Review to come! In the meantime, keep this one on your radar!

  • Berit☀️✨

    Laura Kalpakian stole my heart with this brilliant book! Have you ever finished a Book and thought, I need more and I need it now! That was me with this book. I was so invested in the story and these characters, I was seriously crushed when it was over. Kalpakian completely transported me to 1950s Old Hollywood with her riveting words.

    Roxanne is Hollywood royalty, growing up on the back lots of her grandf

    Laura Kalpakian stole my heart with this brilliant book! Have you ever finished a Book and thought, I need more and I need it now! That was me with this book. I was so invested in the story and these characters, I was seriously crushed when it was over. Kalpakian completely transported me to 1950s Old Hollywood with her riveting words.

    Roxanne is Hollywood royalty, growing up on the back lots of her grandfather’s studio. Raised by her grandparents she is devastated when her grandmother passes away and is angry with her grandfather for leaving her beloved grandmother for a much younger woman. Not wanting to continue college and cut off (sort of) from her grandfather she finds herself living in a bungalow in Malibu. Realizing she knows Hollywood better than most she decides to pursue a career as an agent. After not being taken seriously and dealing with sexual harassment she decides to set out on her own. A huge risk, but Roxanne is all about risk. After a chance encounter (or two) Roxanne finds herself falling in love with Terrence an African-American reporter. BUT this is the 50s and multiracial relationships are a huge taboo even in liberal Hollywood. Will Roxanne‘s risks ultimately pay off? Will love conquer all or leave her heartbroken? You are definitely going to need to read this book and find out the answers to these questions and so much more!

    Roxanne was so feisty, so fierce, and so ahead of her time. She was sassy with a vulnerable side and that made her even more endearing. This book took place during the “red scare, “the “blacklist,“ I found the politics of Hollywood fascinating. I also had absolutely no idea that Los Angeles was so segregated in the 50s. Growing up in southern California I guess I always like to think we are a little more enlightened than the rest of the country when it comes to racial relations, I guess not so much? Also fun fact... max one of the screen writers in the story who is blacklisted moves 60 miles south east of LA to the city where I live now(He was pretty much exiled to Riverside). I imagine it was quite rural here back in the day and seemed extremely far away from the hustle and bustle of LA. Now it is nonstop cities and freeways and traffic from LA to Riverside.

    Such a magical story! I just loved everything the history, the characters, the setting, the tension, the romance. Roxanne was an amazing character who I won’t soon forget. Her relationship with Terrence was so raw, so intense, and so heart wrenching. I fell for these two so completely. This book had a Beautiful perfect ending, BUT I SO wanted more! A follow up would be great, I would really love to see what happens to these characters next. In case you can’t tell I strongly recommend this book!

    *** A huge thank you to Berkley for my copy of this book ***

  • Tammy

    I love historical fiction set in old Hollywood and couldn't wait to read The Great Pretenders. Roxanne Granville is Hollywood royalty and born with a silver spoon. In 1950's Hollywood, the "red scare" is snowballing and many are blacklisted. Roxanne starts her own writers agency and soon finds herself making decisions that could be career ending. Not to mention that she falls for a black reporter which was taboo then. Laura Kapakian's research and attention to detail shines through! I loved this

    I love historical fiction set in old Hollywood and couldn't wait to read The Great Pretenders. Roxanne Granville is Hollywood royalty and born with a silver spoon. In 1950's Hollywood, the "red scare" is snowballing and many are blacklisted. Roxanne starts her own writers agency and soon finds herself making decisions that could be career ending. Not to mention that she falls for a black reporter which was taboo then. Laura Kapakian's research and attention to detail shines through! I loved this story! A must read for historical fiction fans.

  • Miranda Reads

    3.75 stars

    Roxanne Granville is the

    She's spent her life in the

    - rubbing elbows with all the stars and starlets thanks to her grandparent's booming movie business.

    But with the death of her grandmother, and her grandfather marrying a woman half his age, Roxanne finds herself

    3.75 stars

    Roxanne Granville is the

    She's spent her life in the

    - rubbing elbows with all the stars and starlets thanks to her grandparent's booming movie business.

    But with the death of her grandmother, and her grandfather marrying a woman half his age, Roxanne finds herself

    So she sets off on her own - and soon finds that

    of that time were far below what she expected to find in the working world.

    So she decided to set off on her own.

    Roxanne becomes a talent agent - often

    of those accused of being communist in the Red Scare.

    Along the way, she meets Terrance - a man who is good, strong and has a wonderful soul. But there is one problem society sees

    Soon it feels like she is juggling a million different things and one wrong move could send everything spiraling to the ground.

    All in all - I liked this one but

    getting into it.

    The character development focuses on Roxanne's transition from

    over the course of several years.

    However, we are introduced to Roxanne when she is

    clearly in her spoiled phase and my gosh, I did

    like her.

    First impressions really do matter and for the first third of the book (even past when she starts her transition), I held onto the stubborn impression that she was

    who breezed through life.

    I think that if the author had included just a paragraph where an older version of Roxanne reflects on her stubborn, younger self then I would NOT have been so adamantly against her.

    Once I got over that dislike, I did learn to appreciate how Roxanne met and overcame many of the difficulties women faced of the time.

    It was good to see that Roxanne didn't completely eradicate any of these issues but instead, she

    of each of them - from women in the workplace to interracial relationships.

    I feel like Kalpakian was really able to capture an era and the various social issues of that time - which made for a very entertaining read.

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  • Suzanne Leopold (Suzy Approved Book Reviews)

    Roxanne Granville was fortunate to be born into Hollywood Royalty as the granddaughter of a powerful studio mogul. Her grandparents raised her and she spent her childhood mixing with film stars at the studio and in her home. When Roxanne has a falling out with her grandfather, she decides that it is time to step out on her own. She moves to a bungalow and uses her contacts to become an agent for writers.

    During the 1950s there was fear of being on the “Hollywood Blacklist“ where your work would n

    Roxanne Granville was fortunate to be born into Hollywood Royalty as the granddaughter of a powerful studio mogul. Her grandparents raised her and she spent her childhood mixing with film stars at the studio and in her home. When Roxanne has a falling out with her grandfather, she decides that it is time to step out on her own. She moves to a bungalow and uses her contacts to become an agent for writers.

    During the 1950s there was fear of being on the “Hollywood Blacklist“ where your work would never be accepted. Television was also becoming a threat to the movie industry, and the civil rights movement was gaining momentum.

    Roxanne's agency takes off when she sells a script from a blacklisted writer and others come forward seeking her assistance. She knows the risk to her reputation if the truth were to be revealed but feels it is the right thing to do. She also takes risks in her personal life when she secretly becomes involved with an African American journalist which is unusual for the time period.

    I enjoyed reading “The Great Pretenders” by Laura Kalpakian. It has a fun blend of Hollywood history, romance, family dysfunction, and scandal. I look forward to more works from this author.

  • Mlpmom (Book Reviewer)

    There is so much history, so much content in The Great Pretenders that is truly enchanting and you can tell that the author spent a lot of time and effort into getting so many world events and Hollywood events right. It really is like taking a step back in time and experiencing it all for yourself through a different perspective.

    A time when everything and anything and everyone was judged, tried and prosecuted for the color of their skin, where they lived, how they dressed, what they believed in

    There is so much history, so much content in The Great Pretenders that is truly enchanting and you can tell that the author spent a lot of time and effort into getting so many world events and Hollywood events right. It really is like taking a step back in time and experiencing it all for yourself through a different perspective.

    A time when everything and anything and everyone was judged, tried and prosecuted for the color of their skin, where they lived, how they dressed, what they believed in, and how much money they had.

    Rich in detail, family drama, a Hollywood atmosphere and all the things that go with them all, this was a read unlike any I've read before.

    Sometimes troubling, sometimes slow but always interesting, The Great Pretenders is a book that is sure to appeal to many people who love the theme, era, and the setting.

    *ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.*

  • Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader

    ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

    The Great Pretenders is the story of Roxanne Granville, daughter and granddaughter of 1950s Hollywood royalty. Roxanne has the world on a silver platter until she falls out with her grandfather. Now she’s paying her own bills.

    Roxanne becomes an agent for screenwriters, something quite different for women of that era. She helps a blacklisted writer sell a script, and suddenly, her agency is in high dem

    ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️

    The Great Pretenders is the story of Roxanne Granville, daughter and granddaughter of 1950s Hollywood royalty. Roxanne has the world on a silver platter until she falls out with her grandfather. Now she’s paying her own bills.

    Roxanne becomes an agent for screenwriters, something quite different for women of that era. She helps a blacklisted writer sell a script, and suddenly, her agency is in high demand.

    Roxanne then meets Terrence Dexter, an African American journalist and breaks all the “rules” by falling in love with him. This relationship could shut down her business.

    Roxanne decides the rules she’s going to follow. The issues on her plate are not unlike the present seventy years later. I loved watching her transformation from spoiled rich girl to formidable woman who takes stands for what she deems worthy, and she especially isn’t going to take orders from men.

    Overall, Roxanne is feisty and fun, and I found her inspiring and a force to be reckoned with. The style of writing is impressive and engaging, and there were characters here to champion and those that completely turned my stomach. The 1950s is a bygone era, but is it really that far gone?

    I received a complimentary copy. All opinions are my own.

    My reviews can also be found on my blog:

  • Julie

    The Great Pretenders by Laura Kalpakian is a 2019 Berkley publication.

    As the heir to Empire Pictures, Roxanne only need play by the rules and her life of privilege and glamour would go on as usual. But, when her grandfather demands she accept the young Hollywood starlet he’s married, she refuses. Now, for the first time, she’s on her own, determined to make it as an agent for screenwriters. However, in 1950s Hollywood this is a job few women hold, and Roxanne isn’t taken very seriously.

    To comp

    The Great Pretenders by Laura Kalpakian is a 2019 Berkley publication.

    As the heir to Empire Pictures, Roxanne only need play by the rules and her life of privilege and glamour would go on as usual. But, when her grandfather demands she accept the young Hollywood starlet he’s married, she refuses. Now, for the first time, she’s on her own, determined to make it as an agent for screenwriters. However, in 1950s Hollywood this is a job few women hold, and Roxanne isn’t taken very seriously.

    To complicate matters, many talented screenwriters have been blacklisted due to the ‘red scare’. Although, Roxanne carves out a niche by finding a way to help these writers, it’s a bold and dicey deception.

    But when she meets African- American journalist Terrence Dexter, she takes an even bigger risk, by falling in love with him.

    Everything thing Roxanne is involved in, every decision she makes could put her in terrible jeopardy.

    But this spoiled little rich girl rises to the occasion, refusing to sacrifice her convictions.

    She fights for her unconventional career with one fist and for the love of her life with the other.

    However, society may never accept her in either role…

    Roxanne is my kind of gal! I loved her right from the beginning and took great pleasure in watching her blossom into a strong, ground- breaking heroine. The old Hollywood setting is always a draw for me, but this time the glamour is not the focus of the story. The dark side of 1950s Hollywood is on display, as is the racism and fear in the decade we often look back on with fond nostalgia. This novel reminds us of the tension and segregation of the era, which was fraught with many uncertainties and taboos.

    We need more spirited, strong willed women like Roxanne. She’s passionate and full of life, occasionally naïve, but also fierce in her determination. Many people talk a big game, but when met with the consequences of their decisions, they lack the courage of their convictions. But, not Roxanne. She talked the talk and walked the walked.

    Roxanne may no longer be the darling princess of Hollywood, but what she gains is worth more than fame, glory or anything that money could buy.

    Overall, this is a fast -paced piece of historical fiction, full of intrigue and well-drawn characterizations, with many nice historical details added in, giving it another layer of authenticity.

    Naturally, I enjoyed the love story best of all, but I also loved the way Roxanne carved out a niche for herself in a climate unaccustomed to career driven women. Roxanne was a true trailblazer, well ahead of her time.

    This story also carries a strong cautionary message for the present day, as we continue to battle the same demons now, more than ever, as we did back in the fifties.

    Roxanne is a true inspiration, and her story is one we can all learn something from.

    4 stars

  • Mackenzie - PhDiva Books

    If you love a strong female lead and an old-Hollywood setting,

    is a must-read book!

    Set in the 1950s, the book tells the story of Roxanne Granville, granddaughter to a successful studio head and an agent to script writers. But Roxanne’s life is not as easy as it seems. She falls in love with a black man—frowned upon in the time and setting where she lives. And she breaks a few rules along the way to promote her writers. A dazzling story about a fascinating, flawed, fierce fe

    If you love a strong female lead and an old-Hollywood setting,

    is a must-read book!

    Set in the 1950s, the book tells the story of Roxanne Granville, granddaughter to a successful studio head and an agent to script writers. But Roxanne’s life is not as easy as it seems. She falls in love with a black man—frowned upon in the time and setting where she lives. And she breaks a few rules along the way to promote her writers. A dazzling story about a fascinating, flawed, fierce female that I positively loved!

    The daughter of Hollywood royalty, Roxanne Granville is used to getting what she wants--even if she has to break the rules.

    Roxanne forges a career unique for women in the 1950s, becoming an agent for screenwriters. She struggles to be taken seriously by the men who rule Hollywood and who often assume that sexual favors are just a part of doing business. When she sells a script by a blacklisted writer under the name of a willing front man, more exiled writers seek her help.

    Then she meets Terrence Dexter, a compelling African American journalist unlike anyone she's ever known. Roxanne is quickly swept up in a passionate relationship with very real dangers that could destroy everything she's carefully built.

    Roxanne Granville is a woman who bravely defies convention. She won't let men make all the rules, and won't let skin color determine whom she can love.

    Though Roxanne begins the novel as a bit of a spoiled rich girl—she came from means, afterall, during a time of Hollywood opulence—she quickly transforms into a strong, brave, and forward-thinking woman. Not without flaws, Roxanne is a character that you can’t help but root for. She’s relatable, despite the difference in era and status from many readers. I found Roxanne totally sparkled, despite how women were often treated at the time.

    There was a lot about the 1950s that I knew, but only pieces of. The bit about communism and the red scare—those were things I knew about but didn’t have a great frame of reference for what it was like at that time. I thought Laura Kalpakian brought many issues—the red scare, racial tensions, rampant sexual misconduct in the workplace—to life in old Hollywood, making me feel both the glamour and the toxicity of a town where everything glitters but doesn’t quite mask the seedy underbelly of that much money and power.

    The relationship between Terrence and Roxanne felt authentic, emotional, raw, and fierce. Mixed race couples were just not done at that time, particularly in Hollywood and at the level of status Roxanne was at. I really enjoyed their relationship—the ups and downs, the tenderness, and the way they struggled to move forward despite the times.

    The symbolism was also something to note! Not only does this book take place in Hollywood, but often it felt like a film itself. From the birth of Roxanne literally on a film set to Terrence whisking her off in that cream convertible (hello, white horse), I felt the book was rich with vivid scenes and interesting characters, not to mention a fascinating storyline about a woman breaking all of the rules to help talented people find their way despite all of the stigma.

    Appearances are everything in Hollywood in the 1950s, and The Great Pretenders clearly showcases that. I loved this book and I want more—I want to know what happens next to Roxanne! The hallmark of a great book (and a great movie) is wishing it would never end. This book felt that way to me!

    Thank you to Berkley for my copy. Opinions are my own.

  • Holly  B

    Review to come...

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