What Pretty Gets You is the second novel by author Chandra Hoffman. Hoffman is a well-travelled woman, and her experiences across the globe inform her poignant writing. While the characters and complexity of human nature are at the heart of her stories, the novel’s setting is truly its own character, full of beauty and turbulence, adding richness to the narrative.
I received an advance review copy for free, and I am leaving this review voluntarily.
Content warnings for What Pretty Gets You
This novel contains some themes and situations that some readers may wish to avoid.
When 19-year-old Maia strikes up a conversation with gorgeous commuter Joel, she is swept off her feet by his tales of the beautiful Colorado mountains. Joel imbues her with a sense of adventure, a sense of purpose, and an excuse to run from her boring but troubled life in Philadelphia.
Against her own better judgment, Maia boards a flight to Boulder, Colorado—the same flight Joel is on.
But once they reach the other side, she finds out that the adventurous and very single Joel is actually a husband, with a young girl, and another child on the way.
When she sees her husband departing his plane with a beautiful young woman, Carolyn is shocked. But Joel is her husband, and she trusts him. Even so, when Carolyn is put on bed rest, and her husband is out of town, Carolyn decides that she needs someone to help with childcare and the household duties. And who better than Maia?
Keep your friends close and your enemies closer.
With both women harbouring secrets, what unfolds over the Boulder summer has the potential to change both Carolyn and Maia’s lives in ways neither could ever expect.
What Pretty Gets You is a layered, eloquent novel. Although the husband-nanny affair trope is well worn out, it doesn’t feel tired here. Instead, the encounter between Joel and Maia is simply the knot between Carolyn’s suburban life and Maia’s manic existence, slowly pulling the two women together in ways you may not expect.
Hoffman has created a cast of flawed, but undeniably real, characters, whose personalities leap off the page. While you may not like them, you will certainly feel their presence and the impact that each character has on the two women at the centre of this story.
What Pretty Gets You is more than domestic suspense; it’s a descent into the lies we tell ourselves, our desperation to be in control of our own destinies, and the secret history behind every face in the crowd.
Why read What Pretty Gets You?
- Female author
- Female narrators
- First-person POV
- Realistic & flawed characters
- Rated highly pre-release (avg 4.93/5)
- Strong female characters
- Covers tough life issues
What Pretty Gets You
Two very different women's lives begin to entwine, and their personal secrets begin to unravel over a hot summer in Colorado. Family, marriage, lies, and the perilousness of beauty.