The Great Pretenders

Written by Laura Kalpakian
Review by Alice Cochran

Panache. That is what Laura Kalpakian brings to vivid life in The Great Pretenders. The leading lady, Roxanne Granville, has always been destined for greatness, and after her grandmother’s passing, she embarks on her own to find it. In the mists of the Red Scare, while the House Un-American Activities Committee is pursuing a witch trial of Hollywood, Roxanne finds a way to help those accused. With her legacy as movie industry royalty, exiled “communist” writers find her, looking for help to get their stories back in theaters, even if they have to use aliases. With a good head on her shoulders, wit flying from her lips, and oozing glamour from every angle, Roxanne refuses to accept the sanctions of society. She especially challenges those assigned to gender, political views, and race. Enter Terrence Dexter. Terrence is an African-American journalist who leaps not only into Roxanne’s heart but right off the pages. In a time when no one is safe from trial, and racial issues spell danger for everyone involved, will Roxanne pull off her grand charade and get the guy? Pages quickly slip by in pursuit of those answers.

This wild adventure starts at a funeral, and as the book progresses readers will not only be stunned by the character development but confronted with adventure, thought-provoking comments, and a powerful romance. Kalpakian broaches tender subjects with class and style, leaving readers contemplative and imagining what it would be like to live in a time such as this. There is no pretending; this is an excellent novel.