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Publisher's Summary

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 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. Roxanne wades into a world murky with duplicity and deception, and she can’t afford any more risks. 

Then she meets Terrence Dexter, a compelling African-American journalist unlike anyone she’s ever known. Roxanne again breaks the rules and 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. 

The Great Pretenders is a riveting, emotional novel that resonates in today’s world and reminds us that some things are worth fighting for.

©2019 Laura Kalpakian (P)2019 Penguin Audio

Critic Reviews

"What a good book! Engagingly readable, full of Golden Age of Hollywood glitz - and a wonderful story of idealism, courage and the price of love. Enjoyed every page!" (Diana Gabaldon, number-one New York Times best-selling author of Outlander)

"In her riveting new novel, Laura Kalpakian has given us a heroine to cheer for in this juicy tale of Hollywood. Roxanne Granville’s journey from diffident daughter of privilege to boundary-shattering career woman who takes on both the Hollywood blacklist and the racial prejudices of the early Civil Rights era is breathtaking and moving, even epic.” (Melanie Benjamin, New York Times best-selling author of The Girls in the Picture

“[An] empowering, beautifully written story transports readers to 1950s-era Hollywood.” (Woman’s World)

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Good book and easy to stop and start

The reading performance was fantastic! So many characters represented well vocally.
Some of the writing is a little repetitive without meaning.

1 person found this helpful

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Disappointing

The topic--racial tensions during the 1950s--is an important part of the history of this country's institutional racism. The setting--the Hollywood film industry during the Red-baiting of that period--is an important part of the history of this country's polarized politics. Alas, the writing does not do justice to the topic, although it does a more reasonable job of portraying the setting. As limited as the book is, the narration is even more mediocre.

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OUTSTANDING

I was drawn in from the start.. considering the state of the world at the moment, prejudices & racism ; 1956 wasnt that long ago and we still have a long way to go.. but this book reminded what really matters. The setting of the story in Hollywood's golden age was as vivid as if I lived in that time myself. Kudos