Title: She Regrets Nothing
Author: Andrea Dunlop
Genre: Psychological Thriller
Source: eARC via NetGalley
Length: 400 pages
Available: 6 February 2018
“Gregory had loved the Midwest—he’d made his home there after only a brief post-college stint back in New York—and this was how Laila had ended up in the wrong life.”
— loc. 493
Laila doesn’t know she has other family members until they show up at her mother’s funeral. And they’re not just any family members: they’re the Lawrence twins, and their older sister Liberty, heirs to the Lawrence fortune. Laila, too, is a Lawrence but grew up outside the spotlight, and the wealth, that her cousins did. Laila gets a glimpse at what her life could have been but goes back to living as a dental hygienist, marrying her boss, and living in Grosse Point, Michigan. Until that, too, falls apart. Suddenly free, Laila contacts her cousins and moves to New York.
“It was better to be what people needed you to be, especially when it cost you nothing. And in truth, she wanted to be made new.”
— loc. 613
Nora, one of the twins, invites Laila to live in her Tribeca penthouse, complete with a hidden door behind a bookcase that connects to her twin, Leo’s, penthouse. Coming with nothing but not-New York City appropriate clothing, Nora takes Laila to Bergdorf Goodman and starts Laila’s Pygmalion-esque transformation from midwest suburbanite to Page Six-ready socialite. Meanwhile, Liberty, a former model turned literary agent, gets Laila an internship at the agency she works for. Liberty is different from her siblings in that she believes that they still need to work, despite their trust find—a work ethic she tries to instill onto Laila who doesn’t actually have any claim to the Lawrence fortune.
As Laila social climbs from one bed to another, each conquest putting her into a higher social sphere, at the back of her mind she’s still hoping to meet her grandfather and convince him that she, too, deserves Lawrence money. When her hopes of meeting him and convincing him (via blackmail, from letters she found between him and her mother) are dashed, Laila turns her attention back on finding the perfect match: rich, well-bred, and someone who won’t see through her ever-changing facade.
“Why he would hurt Liberty was unfathomable; but Reece had been on the earth as a woman long enough to understand that sometimes, this was reason enough.”
— loc. 4368
With elements of a family saga, thriller, painted with broad brushstrokes of the glamorous life of New York’s social elite, Andrea Dunlop does not disappoint with She Regrets Nothing. The story is fast-paced, with a writing style reminiscent of Lauren Goff’s Fates and Furies. And like Goff, Dunlop takes on class systems and gender roles, all the while delivering an ending no one could see coming. This is the year’s first beach-bag necessity.