Nina once bought into the idea that her fancy liberal arts degree would lead to a fulfilling career. When that dream crashed, she turned to stealing from rich kids in L.A. alongside her wily Irish boyfriend, Lachlan. Nina learned from the best: Her mother was the original con artist, hustling to give her daughter a decent childhood despite their wayward life. But when her mom gets sick, Nina puts everything on the line to help her, even if it means running her most audacious, dangerous scam yet.
Vanessa is a privileged young heiress who wanted to make her mark in the world. Instead she becomes an Instagram influencer—traveling the globe, receiving free clothes and products, and posing for pictures in exotic locales. But behind the covetable façade is a life marked by tragedy. After a broken engagement, Vanessa retreats to her family’s sprawling mountain estate, Stonehaven: a mansion of dark secrets not just from Vanessa’s past, but from that of a lost and troubled girl named Nina.
Nina’s, Vanessa’s, and Lachlan’s paths collide here, on the cold shores of Lake Tahoe, where their intertwined lives give way to a winter of aspiration and desire, duplicity and revenge.
This dazzling, twisty, mesmerizing novel showcases acclaimed author Janelle Brown at her best, as two brilliant, damaged women try to survive the greatest game of deceit and destruction they will ever play.
How Tessa talks about this book: Raves
Favorite Character: Nina Ross
She has a spunk and a fighting spirit. Even though some of her choices are not the best, desperate times call for extreme measures. I found myself empathizing with her even when I didn’t agree with what she was doing. Nina’s story is a bittersweet tale of life constantly derailed by a mother with a disreputable character and a lack of a moral compass.
What I Loved
Pretty Things is a masterfully woven tale interlaced slowly and methodically with intrigue and suspense. I loved that the story kept me glued to the pages while telling me a tale that spanned 12 years and the lives of 2 families. There were not any surprises as the story unfolds, but still, there were twists and turns that created a satisfying level of suspense and kept the pages quickly turning.
I loved the theme of “I see you.” In a world where everyone hides their innermost selves and puts on a public face, it’s essential to see them – to see their insecurities and failings – to understand who they indeed are. A con-man who changes his identity as often as most people change their clothes was the character who opens our eyes to see what everyone else is missing. All the characters are so well-developed that you can truly understand them and love them for their successes as well as their failings.
Usually, I prefer one narrator, whether it is an omniscient 3rd person or a limited first-person tale-teller. In Pretty Things, I discovered that dual narrators could also offer a fascinating perspective. Vanessa and Nina told their own stories in alternating segments of the novel, and it is as compelling as reading two separate stories that happen to connect at various points. I wanted to know what was happening with each of them and was happy that I had the opportunity to see the story from both of their perspectives.
To Read or Not to Read
If you, like me, love a suspenseful tale with con-artist characters and a good, solid, relevant theme, then Pretty Thing is a book you won’t want to miss.
Thank you to NetGalley and Random House for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.