Thursday, February 15, 2018

Book Review: "She Regrets Nothing" by Andrea Dunlop

She Regrets Nothing Andrea Dunlop
Date Finished: February 4, 2018
Date Published: February 6, 2018
ISBN: 9781501155987
Genre: Contemporary Fiction

You might enjoy this if you like: Books with sociopath characters, stories about modern day New York City

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 Point, 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.

My Thoughts:
I'm one of those people who struggles with quitting books I'm not enjoying.  The thing is, the vast majority of the time, I finish reading it and then regret the time I spent on it.  Every once in a while, though, I push through and then I regret nothing (see what I did there?).  This is one of those books about which I felt one way while reading it and another once I had finished.

I found the hook of this story interesting enough--cousins who didn't even know each other existed meet at a funeral.  From that point, it became a bit of a twist on the Country Mouse in the City trope--which isn't a bad thing.  Personally, I like it when books take sort of accepted formulas and tip them over.  However, I also started to have some problems with the book.

I think the biggest issue for me were the characters.  The only character I found likable was Liberty.  However, I'm not the sort of reader who needs to like all the characters in a book.  But, what I do need is to find them interesting and, again, Liberty was the only one who fit the bill.  Nora and Leo were nothing more than the very predictable and cliched trust fund babies and Laila, well, I wasn't sure about Laila.

As the story progressed and we were introduced to more secondary characters, I think the direction of the book became more clear, but it was bogged down with rather unrealistic plot points.  While I became frustrated with the more tropish nature of the book, I was still interested enough to keep going.

This is a book where everything seems to happen in the last quarter.  Personally, I don't think that is an especially wise move as it risks losing readers (it almost lost me a few times), but it does reward readers who stick with it a good pay off.  My opinion of the book once I finished was vastly different from the opinion I held up to that point.  While I thought I was reading a rather run-of-the-mill piece about the Manhattan rich, I ended up reading a chilling character piece.  And, yes, that is a great experience...but that doesn't make it less frustrating to have to struggle through the rest of it.

So, would I recommend this book?  Yes...possibly.  However, I would preface any recommendation with the warning that a reader just has to trust that it will all pay off in the end.

I received an electronic copy of this book in return for an honest review.  I received no other compensation for this post.

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