Without Pretense by T.J. Thomas is a contemporary romance about two women, solo violinist Ava Wellington and journalist Bianca (BJ) Vega. They meet briefly not long after Bianca has lost her wife in a plane crash. Then a couple of years later they meet again when Bianca is given a contract to write Ava’s biography. There is instant attraction between the two but also a lot of misunderstandings that will follow them throughout the story.
I really liked this story at the beginning. It had a lot of promise. The premise of the story was appealing, the characters seem to be developing well for the tale, and the connection between the two was evident. Then, about a third of the way through the book I noticed that I was starting to skim. That’s not good. I did finish the book, and there are some good parts to the story, but I kind of felt cheated because it had the potential to be so much better.
For me, one of the biggest problems was that much of the story was told through dialogue. That is not always a bad thing, but here the dialogue went on and on with few visual clues, body language, or even thoughts mentioned to help the reader get a feel for how the words were being said and what emotions they were supposed to convey. Some of the dialogue felt fake because of this. The story is not all bad. As I said above, the premise of the story as well as the connection with the main characters are good. If you love a good steamy romance that is fairly easy to read, and you don’t mind a lot of dialogue, you might like this book.
I received this book as an ARC from NetGalley and Bold Strokes Books for an honest review. You can get a copy here