Four Cousins and a Funeral: She Regrets Nothing | 2018
"Laila knew how false it was, that beloved American ideal that true reinvention was always possible. She'd seen her mother lose not only her will but her opportunities. She'd once been beautiful, she'd had cards, but she'd played them wrong, and her sad end was the result. But Betsy had one parting gift -- the letters. Whether this was intentional or not, Laila would never know, but she liked to believe it was. Whatever the case, Laila would not let her chances pass her by."
-She Regrets Nothing, pg. 127
The Sum of It:
The fantastic, rose-colored cover of my February read, She Regrets Nothing, should have been my first clue as to the decadence I would find within. This book centers around three fabulously wealthy siblings, Nora, Leo, and Liberty Lawrence, living up their life of luxury in New York City, and their middle-class, Midwestern cousin, Laila. Laila's mother, Betsy, has passed away at the beginning of the book and Nora, Leo, and Liberty decide it's the right thing to do to pay a visit to their estranged side of the family. Laila's father (and the three Lawrence siblings's father's brother) is long-since dead, his discord with the rich New York Lawrences veiled in mystery. Laila is appreciative of her cousins's olive branch, but already has her life planned in Michigan - starting with marriage to her dentist fiancé. The cousins leave Michigan, telling Laila to let them know if she ever needs anything.
Cut to several months later, and Laila shows up at her cousins's penthouse, in need of some help after all. She's left her apparently philandering husband and has come to New York City with nothing but a few bags, some mysterious letters left from her mother, and no intention of ever returning to Michigan. She Regrets Nothing follows Laila's attempts to work her way back into the family, and wealth, she feels she's deserved all her life. And although her family thinks she's just a Midwestern girl they can bend to their will, Laila's ready to prove she's smarter than them all and willing to stop at nothing to fit in.
The B & C Treatment:
When I first read about She Regrets Nothing, I was ready to love it. As I began to read it, however, I found myself a bit apprehensive about actually enjoying it. All that to say - if you find yourself a bit unsure, stick with it - things pick up immensely around 75 pages in. Author Andrea Dunlop has done a stellar job of creating an enviable world of wealth and opportunity surrounding the Lawrence children (oldest Lawrence, Liberty, is even a book publisher UGH DREAM JOB!), and so it becomes easy to sympathize with Laila in her desperation to be a part of their "club." Dunlop also excels at her ability to create The Girl on the Train-esque nuggets of mystery as the novel goes on, leaving you unsure of what to believe as you near the climax.
My overall assessment of She Regrets Nothing is good, not great. Once the book got into its stride, I did find it a real page turner, but I was expecting more of a hook from the very beginning, and while I think it will make an excellent beach read, it wasn't necessarily the book to cozy up for winter-time reading.
You may like She Regrets Nothing if you like:
- Beach reads about glamorous New York City life like The Devil Wears Prada by Lauren Weisberger.
- Female-led books about working the system such as The Assistants by Camille Perri.