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REVIEW: The End of Faking It by Natalie Anderson

Dear Ms. Anderson:

I was reluctant to read this book for some reason and had saved it to the end of my monthly HP reading. I’ve read a couple of yours in the past (Caught on Camera being the one I remember). I mostly got caught up in the setups and the setup in this book was slightly problematic but the core of the story, the heroine afraid of intimacy and the hero that pursues her, is a trope that has always worked well for me. Because of that, I’m sure that I have overlooked obvious flaws in the storytelling.

The End of Faking It by Natalie AndersonThe book starts out with our standard HP hero, Carter Dodds, assuming that Penny of the short denim skirt and the red lips must be a siren luring men to their doom. Carter makes assumptions, bad ones, based on Penny’s attire and her fun and free attitude. Further, Carter basically douses Penny with water and then kisses her because that is what men do to random secretaries in the office. Carter is a presumptuous ass. He interferes with her life, thinks she is a bimbo, and then a man eater.

Penny won me over, though. She’s not interested in making commitments, not with people or a place. She temps because she won’t stay in one location for more than a year. She seeks out men who are as commitment phobic as she is. She goes out clubbing all night and takes men home with her. But there is an unhappy desperation to her lifestyle. Penny clearly loves people but she is afraid of intimacy on any level.

And fortunately, around chapter 3, Carter starts acting like a decent human being again once he acknowledges that he can barely think around Penny and he apologizes (although he could have groveled more). Later on in the story, Carter actually seems to become a different guy. One who is more understanding, more about Penny’s pleasure than his own. I don’t think his character arc was to change in this manner, but that the way in which he was written changed. As if the standard HP hero was trotted out in the beginning in order to hook the HP readers, but that the story and Penny needed a different kind of foil. I liked how Carter evolved although I don’t know if it was organic growth.

The reason for Penny’s neurosis is somehow related to a boyfriend she had with a teenager. I bought into the idea that this event that happened to her over seven years ago could still so strongly influence her life. Penny was trying to find enjoyment where she could with traveling and seeing new people and places. And she enjoyed sex and had enjoyed it in the past, although Penny always had to be in control and often, she never orgasmed so she faked it and she planned to fake it with Carter as well. (Thus the title)

My affection for this book rests a great deal on my appreciation for Penny as a character. Her yearning for deeper connections swam just under the surface and her presentation as the “in control but no intimacy girl” read like a gender switch in romance books. I think she could have been pushed harder (i.e. in her partying aspect, in her past relationships with men) but I can appreciate the parameters in which this was written. More

As an aside, I appreciated all the mentions of the modern ways of communicating. The characters text and email. Carter skypes with his father. Penny has an ereader. These things all give a nice contemporary feel to the story. Despite my initial reservations, I found that the Penny and Carter love story was sweet and, yes, very sexy. B

Best regards,

Jane

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Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com

13 Comments

  1. RebeccaJ
    Jul 21, 2011 @ 12:07:42

    I’m curious as to why your cover is different? I had to look it up on Amazon because while I was SURE “HP” meant Harlequin Presents, it didn’t look anything like their covers. And indeed the one on Amazon IS different. Although I like the one you have much better. HP covers are so old school.

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  2. Jane
    Jul 21, 2011 @ 12:44:15

    Rebecca. I didn’t even think of it but this is the UK Riva cover. The US cover is a traditional HP. I’ll have to change it later.

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  3. Ros
    Jul 21, 2011 @ 12:49:59

    @RebeccaJ: The UK covers for RIVA are definitely better than the US equivalents!

    @Jane: I agree. I didn’t like the set up in the early chapters of this book and the reason for Carter being there was ridiculous. And again, I thought there was some inconsistency in his characterisation which meant that he didn’t really work for me. I kept expecting the idiot from the early chapters to surface again. But I did like Penny (though for some reason, that name didn’t quite fit the character for me) and I did like the issues with intimacy and the way that those were addressed through the story. I liked that the HEA didn’t happen immediately, too, with several months allowed to elapse before they made their commitment to each other.

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  4. RebeccaJ
    Jul 21, 2011 @ 13:38:23

    @Ros & Jane, I agree. The US covers are so boring and bland, they remind me of the ones they used to have on the old, old (talking 70′s here:) Harlequins. The US ones need an update!

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  5. Lynn S.
    Jul 21, 2011 @ 15:28:21

    I haven’t read this one yet, but I’ve been glomming on Anderson lately and she does write great heroines.

    I agree that the Riva covers are fresh, clever, and usually make great use of stock imagery. But, ocassionally not so much, http://www.anne-oliver.com/aboutarebel.html.

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  6. Jane
    Jul 21, 2011 @ 18:49:25

    @Ros I kind of liked the name Penny. It was different like she was different. I felt like her struggle was vivid and I liked her so much that the early Carter was forgiven, particularly by the time I came to the end of the book. By that time, Carter of the first few chapters had really dissolved. I also liked the epilogue. When I first read it, I thought it said five years later and was like, whoa, that is amazing. Still allowing time to lapse made perfect sense.

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  7. REVIEW: The End of Faking It by Natalie Anderson – Dear Author | ypytadopab
    Jul 21, 2011 @ 19:35:05

  8. Linda Winfree
    Jul 21, 2011 @ 19:41:59

    I bought the Kindle version after reading your review this morning. About halfway through and really liking it. Like you, I am drawn into Penny’s character. The writing is clean and fresh, an enjoyable voice, especially after the vintage Michelle Reid I just finished. The one! With crazy fragments. All over the place.

    Also loving how this not-your-usual-Harlequin title fits so well.

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  9. RebeccaJ
    Jul 21, 2011 @ 20:43:02

    Yeah that was another thing that had me questioning whether HP meant Harlequin Presents: the title. Usually they’re not the least bit provocative, but more of a description type thing. You know, “Billionaire B*stard, Poor But Attractive Chick”, that sort of stuff that I find so dull.

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  10. Jane
    Jul 21, 2011 @ 20:47:03

    @RebeccaJ: My understanding is that they have abandoned that type of naming convention.

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  11. Janine
    Jul 21, 2011 @ 21:09:13

    @Jane:

    My understanding is that they have abandoned that type of naming convention.

    Really? I thought the reason for those titles was that they sold well. Have they worn out their welcome with book buyers?

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  12. Kate Walker
    Jul 22, 2011 @ 02:18:26

    @Janine: Really? I thought the reason for those titles was that they sold well. Have they worn out their welcome with book buyers?

    Janine – and Jane – Harlequin Presents have indeed abandoned the DarkSatanicBillionaire’s Dark Revenge on the Poor But Attractive Chick type of title – Thankfully. I don’t know about wearing out their welcome with the book buyers, but they certainly wore out their welcome with the authors! We are so glad to see a move away from the random buzz-word generator titles.

    Of course, Natalie’s book, having originated in the RIVA line in the UK would have had a different style title anyway – at least in the UK and now the USA Presents/Extra editions tend to use the UK titles too.

    Kate
    Romantic Times Reviewers Choice Best Presents Extra – The Konstantos Marriage Demand
    The Proud Wife M&B Modern March 2011 Presents Extra April 2011
    The Return of The Stranger M&B Modern September 2011/USA October
    The Devil and Miss Jones March 2012

    12 Point Guide To Writing Romance -now on Kindle

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  13. RebeccaJ
    Jul 22, 2011 @ 08:43:53

    @Jane: I hope! It’s more annoying,then enticing.

    ReplyReply

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