Christine Noyes mixes romance, intrigue and friendship in ‘A Picture of Pretense’

By DOMENIC POLI

Staff Writer

 

August 19, 2021

         

 

 

 

 

 Christine Noyes grew up in Shrewsbury. She has been a chef, a sales representative, an outdoor sporting goods store owner, and a writer. And she turned 60 recently.

She is very honest about who she is. But the same cannot be said for one of the characters in “A Picture of Pretense,” her debut adult novel. The book unfolds on a Caribbean cruise ship, where strangers dining together realize the eighth person at their table is not being truthful about himself.

“There’s a lot of intrigue about who this man is,” Noyes said about the mysterious character. “It’s a really fun read — that’s what everybody been telling me about it.”

The novel was published at the end of June by Haley’s Antiques and Publishing in Athol. Noyes said arrangements are being made to hold a book reading at Trail Head Outfitters and General Store in Orange later this month.

“A Picture of Pretense” centers around vacationers — two sisters, a woman and her father, a wheelchair-bound 12year-old boy with his parents, and the mysterious man — on the cruise ship Perth. “When strangers on a cruise ship share a dinner table, the menu calls for intrigue, romance, and danger — deception is the main course,” Noyes’ website reads.

The novel spans 300 pages.

“I find it very credible and imaginative, and she sustains the plot and the characterizations particularly well,” said Marcia Gagliardi, the publisher at Haley’s. “I taught school for 12 years and I find that people are multifaceted. It’s a joy to work with Chris. I’ve enjoyed working with her on her children’s books and on her novel, and I’m glad that we’re working together.”

Readers’ Favorite reviewer Trudi LoPreto awarded the book five stars.

“I loved this book! ‘A Picture of Pretense’ has so much going for it — romance, intrigue, suspense, friendship, family dynamics and so much more,” she wrote. “The characters are well presented and the plot is fast-moving with touches of both fiction and realism. Christine Noyes is a skilled author in creating a story that makes for so much enjoyable reading. I highly recommend ‘A Picture of Pretense’ for young and older readers and my hope is to see this as a made-for-TV movie.”

Noyes said the manuscript for the novel’s sequel, “Shadow in the Sandpit,” is being edited. She said she now expects the series to be at least a trilogy. She explained the premise is loosely based on a cruise she took with her father when she was 26 and how she formed a strong friendship with two Canadian sisters. One of those women has died, but Noyes still exchanges Christmas letters with the other. This friendship was the original premise of “ A Picture of Pretense” but the writing process “took me (in) a whole different direction.”

 

She got started in the world of writing in 2019 with “Close Enough to Perfect,” an homage to her husband, Al, who died unexpectedly on a flight in 2018. They had owned Grrr Gear sporting goods store from 2009 until Christine closed it and started renting it out in 2019. A book for young children, “A Big Al Bear Hug,” initiated a series that includes “Big Al Cleans the Park,” “Big Al’s Treasure,” “The Case of the Missing Cooler,” as well as “Big Al Coloring Book.”

“It’s been amazing,” Noyes said. “I still have a hard time calling myself an author. It’s taken over my life. All I do is stay home and write.”

“A Picture of Pretense” is available at christinenoyes a u t h o r. c o m, other online booksellers, and from Haley’s. Reach Domenic Poli at: dpoli@recorder.com or 413772-0261, ext. 262.

 

 

The cover of “A Picture of Pretense,” a novel written by Orange resident Christine Noyes.

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