Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Book Review: She Regrets Nothing, by Andrea Dunlop

She'd felt it with a rush upon seeing her cousins. She'd never had a sibling, never had the experience of looking into someone's face and seeing a shadow of her own. It could not be a coincidence that they'd shown up now, she decided. That they'd come for her. And she felt it even more deeply that morning at the condo, with its cigarette funk that hung in the air, the stained beige carpet, the fussy, fat church ladies bustling around industriously; New York was coming slowly into view, an unanticipated escape hatch. As she headed for the door, she felt a wild fantasy well up: a desire to break every dish and piece of glassware in the place, to set fire to the curtains and leave them blazing in her wake.

She would never set food in here again. Her mother was dead. At last.

This book definitely reminded me of The House of Mirth, and its official synopsis below even mentions it. It's also been compared to TV's Gossip Girl.

Official synopsis:
Book Review: She Regrets Nothing, by Andrea Dunlop
In the tradition of The Emperor’s Children and The House of Mirth, the forgotten granddaughter of one of New York’s wealthiest men is reunited with her family just as she comes of age—and once she’s had a glimpse of their glittering world, she refuses to let it go without a fight.

When Laila Lawrence becomes an orphan at twenty-three, the sudden loss unexpectedly introduces her to three glamorous cousins from New York who show up unannounced at her mother’s funeral. The three siblings are scions of the wealthy family from which Laila’s father had been estranged long before his own untimely demise ten years before.

Two years later, Laila has left behind her quiet life in Grosse Pointe, Michigan to move to New York City, landing her smack in the middle of her cousins’ decadent world. As the truth about why Laila’s parents became estranged from the family patriarch becomes clear, Laila grows ever more resolved to claim what’s rightfully hers. Caught between longing for the love of her family and her relentless pursuit of the lifestyle she feels she was unfairly denied, Laila finds herself reawakening a long dead family scandal—not to mention setting off several new ones—as she becomes further enmeshed in the lives and love affairs of her cousins. But will Laila ever, truly, belong in their world? Sly and sexy,
She Regrets Nothing is a sharply observed and utterly seductive tale about family, fortune, and fate—and the dark side of wealth.

I loved all of the Michigan references in this book—they were so specific that I tweeted at the author to see if she was from Michigan, since her bio says the Seattle area, and she said she is not, but she has friends that live here. (at one point, Leila mentions Twelve Oaks Mall, which was funny—I live about 30 minutes from there)

Leila, the main character, is from Grosse Pointe, which does have some "rich" areas, but Leila and her mother are not well off at all. At her mother's funeral, Leila's NYC cousins show up, to introduce themselves to her, and we later find out that Leila's father and their grandfather had a falling out, after which Leila's parents moved them to Michigan.

I was a big fan of Gossip Girl when it was on TV, and this book definitely reminded me of that. Leila is a bit of a gold-digger, in that she wants to live the NYC lifestyle that her cousins do but she doesn't have money to do so; therefore, she dates around, and also mooches off them a bit. There are also affairs throughout the novel and later, another death, which affects everyone.

I'd definitely recommend this book, especially to my Michigan readers. It's a fun read and almost like reading gossip from a friend—a little malicious, but definitely intriguing.

4.5 stars out of 5.
{click here to purchase}

*Disclosure: I received an e-copy of this book for reviewing purposes. The opinions expressed here, however, are my own.

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