Cover Image: The Pretenders

The Pretenders

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Member Reviews

I really enjoyed this book. The whole book takes place in the course of one day. It gives an insight into the different relationships of each of the couples and plays on biases of the reader which I really enjoyed. Discussed as a part of my May reads:
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I found this book a little confusing and wished that the characters of Holly, Anne and John had been developed more. 

The book is centred around a Saturday where Jasper is keen to show off his new fiance Holly to his brother Edmund. However secrets abound and so much comes out. With domestic violence, cheating, a secret child and so much more to contemplate, this was an interesting read but I felt it got a little too confusing at times and often was really slow to read and at other times raced along.

An interesting read but I just wish the characters had been fleshed out a little more.
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This book should 100% be written as a play.  This would be an amazing slow burn play...and the tension would build and unravel....the reactions from the audience would be intense and it would work so well.

That is the reason I have given this 3 stars because I can see it!  However, as a book, it didn't work for me unfortunately.

All the characters are vile.  Edmunds actions are the absolute worse and as for Ovidia...I have no words.
I hated all 6 of them.  They were self involved awful people....only Jasper had something about him and he was still fairly unlikeable overall.
Edmunds disloyalty was unbearable and I couldn't ever get my head around that.

This also is much too slow...the first few chapters were a slow burn of 'something ' happening but it was all too descriptive and over explained around the actual issue...the thing we actually wanted to know...which juF didn't work for me.

Again this slow burn would work wonderfully as a play but as a just felt never ending and frustrating.  I felt the idea of building tension was the primary focus and I found that just frustrating and wanted to rush till we knew something rather than savouring the parts I was reading.

The ending was disappointing and all characters felt unresolved....and we had experienced alot of drama to get to that point...

Again, I cannot stress this enough how well it would work as a play but as a book, I really struggled with it!

Thanks to the author, publisher and Netgalley for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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I would like to thank NetGalley for the opportunity to review this book even though I did not finish this book.
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Two couples turn up unannounced and uninvited at a brothers home.  There follows some revelations.  Despite the blurb which sounded great, it did not live up to expectations.  I could put up with the obnoxious characters but not the very stilted writing style.  Sorry to say it was boring and didn’t work for me on any level.  No doubt I’m in the minority and lots of people will enjoy the book.
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For everyone else – it’s a bog standard Saturday, but for brothers Edmund and Jasper their whole worlds are about to be turned upside down. Happily engaged to girlfriend Holly, Jasper can’t wait to share the news with his big brother. Rushing over to his house with their mutual friends John and Anne, champagne and celebrations at the ready, they’re all anticipating Edmund’s excitement. But instead, Edmund is solemn, withdrawn and definitely not ready for visitors. Neither does it seem; is his surprise long-term partner, Ovidia. Over the course of one day secrets are exposed, hidden lives are unearthed and relationships are shattered – the pretenders are about to face realities they never thought existed.

I wasn’t sure what to expect from this story – it started off quite hard to get into as it launched straight into a discussion between the friends without much backstory or foundation. Nevertheless, I was intrigued, wanting to know more about the complex characters and the seemingly strange situation they’ve got themselves into. You have no idea initially where this book is going to go – which makes it a suspenseful read, but also a little bit confusing as there wasn’t really a clear understanding of what was happening from the off. Honestly, I was pretty bored at points and it took me ages to read because I really struggled to get into it. Although LOTS of tricky subject matters were broached and lots was going on, at the same time, nothing really happened. There seemed to be too much flipping between characters and their individual story-lines without actually giving you a chance to actually understand or get affiliated with that character enough to care or want to know more. Once you finally did get a bit more insight into each of the characters and their personal ordeals, as much as I’d love to say it picked up, it still fell a bit flat for me. None of the characters were gripping enough and all of their narrative arcs were similarly dreary and depressing – without enough pzazz to perk it back up and excite the reader.

I couldn’t help but feel that this would be a great play or fringe theatre production as opposed to a novel. The story from Agatha Zaza felt more like a script than a book and I feel that in a theatre setting the emotions and twists would come out a lot better. Zaza did a great job of keeping the reader guessing – the end was really neatly wrapped up, and some of the surprising twists that seemed to come out of nowhere definitely did catch me off guard, so kudos to Zaza for the shock factor! There were a lot of moments where the narrative picked up and really started to gain steam, I just wish the momentum had continued for longer rather than fizzling out as quickly as it did.

Overall, I’m looking forward to the day I can sit in an audience and watch ‘The Pretenders’ come to life on the stage and will make sure I bring my tissues for the raw emotion and heartache that Zaza packs into this narrative by the bucketload.

Thanks to NetGalley and Agora Books for my advanced reader copy! 💕
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I really enjoyed this book.  It had great characters that really resonated with me and a really enjoyable story that kept me engrossed throughout.  Definitely worth a read.
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I am no the biggest fan of books taking place in a short amount of time, but this one surprised me! I liked the mix of characters with their various personalities. There was an air of mystery from the beginning which I enjoyed. Thank you, NetGalley!
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Loved this one! So easy to read and lots of twists and turns along the way. Definitely a quick read and one I recommend.
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A gripping read which made me want to read on. Would recommend. Thank you to Netgalley and the publishers for letting me review this book.
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This book was brilliant, lots of twists and turns, great characters, great storyline. Would recommend.

Thank you NetGalley for my complimentary copy in return for my honest review.
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oooh now this was a fun one. I love twisted, domestic suspense and that's exactly what this was. i couldn't put it down.
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I did enjoy this book but I did find it a slow burner , it also has some very dark themes domestic violence and infant loss to name a couple , sensitive topics but its wrote in way that will get you thinking
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I enjoyed this book. It's beautifully written and the characters are great. Full marks for the suspense, too.

Thank you to NetGalley and to the publisher for allowing me to read this in exchange for an honest review..
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This is a brilliant read.
Wonderful well written plot and story line that had me engaged from the start.
Love the well fleshed out characters and found them believable.
Great suspense and found myself second guessing every thought I had continuously.
Can't wait to read what the author brings out next.
Recommend reading.

I was provided an ARC from NetGalley and the publisher.  This is my own honest voluntary review.
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The Pretenders is a psychological thriller that tells the story of three couples and their experiences as they gather to celebrate an engagement. It took awhile to get to the characters' various revelations. Their interconnections are often surprising, and you are eventually pulled into the story more and more because you want to learn more about how the story will pan out. It is a book of secrets and lies, and the toll that can take on relationships!
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The Pretenders packs a punch of mystery that is expertly unravelled throughout the novel. The story features the complexities of relationships and the concerns of what really happens behind closed doors. This book does need to come with trigger warnings surrounding domestic abuse and the death of a child.
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This is a story of family and relationships with plenty of secrets where trust is hard to come. Three couples gather on a Saturday and all of their hidden away secrets become exposed. It is a very well written debut, that sheds light on the consequences of actions and secrets. It keeps the reader interested throughout with this page-turning story full of unexpected twists and turns.

Thank you, NetGalley, for this e-ARC.
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This was my first book by Agatha Zaza and most definitely won't be my last. Tremendously written and paced with a great use of timeline to tell the storyline of these lives and all their secrets. Five stars, easy!
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This book made me feel quite uncomfy.  I didn't warm to the characters and didn't really care what happened to them and how it turned out.  Not my cup of tea.
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