The Great Pretenders by Laura Kalpakian
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The Great Pretenders

3.76  ·  Rating details ·  388 ratings  ·  93 reviews
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
Paperback, 400 pages
Published April 16th 2019 by Berkley Books
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Miranda Reads
Apr 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
3.75 stars

"Me? I'm fit for nothing."
"You're a girl. You just need to get married."
"Don't be stupid."
Roxanne Granville is the darling heir of Empire Pictures.

She's spent her life in the lap of luxury - 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 falling out with her once tight family.
...Never forget that you are Roxa
Jul 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019
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
an elegantly told exquisite tale of Old Hollywood and the girl who turned it on its head!

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
Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader
Apr 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
Roxanne Granville transforms from spoiled little rich girl and finds a way of her own! ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️

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
Mackenzie - PhDiva Books
Jun 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
If you love a strong female lead and an old-Hollywood setting, The Great Pretenders 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
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
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
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 ...more
Renee Rosen
Dec 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Review to come! In the meantime, keep this one on your radar!
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Basic B's Guide
Apr 14, 2019 added it
Shelves: dnf
At 115 pages I’m throwing in the towel. I’m not interested in the storyline and the protagonist is a privileged brat. I’m too impatient right now. Such a shame because I adore the cover and anything Hollywood centered.
Apr 29, 2019 marked it as to-read
The Great Pretenders is a tale of Old Hollywood, specifically 1950's era. This was a time of complexity and fear. The Red Scare and being Blacklisted were relevant topics in this era. Still, other things were not addressed adequately, including segregation and inequality among others. This story is about a woman with great Hollywood connections who decides to become a Hollywood agent instead of a wife and mother. Then, to add more controversy to her life, she falls in love with a black man. Inte ...more
Apr 15, 2019 rated it it was ok
---- Disclosure: I received this book for free from Goodreads. ----

While a bit slow to start, once the story got moving it carried me along easily. I did not expect this was going to go where it did & quite enjoyed the majority of it. Unfortunately, at the end the momentum really drops off. It took too long to wrap things up, & when it finally did so it kinda fell flat. The resolutions to certain plot points weren't all that satisfying, & the resolution of the major plot line had lost steam by

The Lit Bitch
3.5 stars

I decided to review this one because I have zero impulse control when it comes to pretty historical fiction book covers.

I love the eye catching teal and yellow color pallet in this cover and it so clearly screams 1950s Hollywood glamour and as soon as I saw it, I knew I wanted to read it. I didn’t even really read the pitch all the way through, I just eagerly agreed!

This author has written a number of other books but none that I have read or really heard of but she has won a number o li
ARC received courtesy of Berkley Publishing

This novel covers so much within it's pages; this author had to have done so much research! In these pages Roxanne Granville deals with the "Red Scare" and the House on UnAmerican Activity, blatant racism and the Montgomery Bus Strike, fighting off men who want something in return for allowing her to work. Roxanne's grandfather is head of the Empire Movie Studio and has fired several writers for being Communists or sympathizers. Roxanne knows that this
Jun 12, 2019 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: giveaways-won
I love period pieces that transport us to another time, and this book does just that. There’s romance, conflict, taboo, and familial bonds. This book will have you rooting for a character then disappointed with them and back many times over. An easy read, not too heavy, but definitely not short on good story.

*I received this book as an ARC from the publisher.*
Aug 02, 2019 rated it liked it
3.5 stars

This was a wonderful and interesting summer read and an honest representation of the downsides of living in the 1950s USA. No happy homemakers and everyone loves one another here. There is so much bias and prejudice and even hate. Someone needed to call it out especially given what is going on in the world today.
Viviane Crystal
Apr 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
Roxanne Granville is a spoiled, rich granddaughter of a theatre and movie powerhouse. Her mother dies in the very beginning of the story and her resentment of her grandfather’s lover is beyond words. She can’t understand how Denise could replace Julia because Roxanne really has no idea what a love affair with commitment is and how it could change. Therefore, she announces she will have nothing to do with him until he drops Denise. His response is laughable, a fairy tale in the land of the rich!

Apr 23, 2019 rated it liked it
Between 3 and 4, in my opinion. Historical fiction about the McCarthy era in Hollywood. A daring woman agent, a biracial romance and the flame of Communism that burned so many talents during the 50s gave this book substance, beyond its breezy read.
Jeffrey Chassen
Apr 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I absolutely loved this book. Laura Kalpakian had me holding on until the very last page, crying my eyes out in happiness. Her attention to detail, her attention to important issues of the time that still resonate today.... this book for me was perfection. To me, this is the reason to write historical fiction... to teach, to shine a light. I loved it to the moon ❤️
Apr 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
Roxanne Granville was born into the Hollywood world. Her grandparents ran Empire Pictures and she was the darling around the studio. Now in her twenties, Roxanne is ready to begin a career of her own, which isn’t easy for women in the 1950’s. She quickly learns that men refuse to take her seriously and only see her as a sex object.

She is determined to begin a career as a Hollywood agent. She takes on some daring scripts that people would find controversial. Not to mention that she becomes involv
Sep 11, 2019 rated it liked it
Historical Hollywood fiction is always interesting. In this book names are dropped and you’re swept into the studio system during the height of the red scare. Roxanne is a strong, modern heroine who isn’t afraid of what society says. Some of the issues addressed are still relevant today. The bulk of the story is told at a good pace, but the start is a bit of a slug. There is a lot going on so it was sometimes a struggle to keep track of the plot line that was unfolding.
Maya B
May 15, 2019 rated it it was ok
This one started out discombobulated. I found myself about 100 pages in before I could follow what was going on. The interesting story line is what kept me going. It did pique my interest to read more stories about old hollywood.
Lindsey Wray
Oct 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed the development of the main character, Roxanne. I found it so interesting and realistic that she was able to see injustice in treatment of some groups but not others. I'm looking forward to learning more about the red scare in Hollywood
Apr 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Loved it!
Madi Edge
Sep 28, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: pass-on
I really wanted to like this book, but it was simply too clique and predictable. I did not find much excitement throughout the book. I enjoyed the beginning, but the end just seemed to drag on
Andrea Gabriel
Apr 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Raised on caviar and fancy French boarding schools, Roxanne Granville puts considerable value in living her life with "Panache" - both a way of being in the world, and a cologne custom-made for her family of Hollywood royalty. She immediately surprises with both her choices and independence of character. TGP takes us on occasional joy rides through the lives of the Hollywood elite in the 50's, but its real territory is the abuses of the Blacklist Era, the civil rights movement, and the lives upe ...more
Vicki Gollnisch
Mar 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: giveaway
Received an ARC and I must say it was truly delighting. I loved the detail and time travel to a an era that I never experienced. Detailed, Engaging and a page turner. You won’t be disappointed.
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