SHE REGRETS NOTHING was a wild and sexy romp with the wealthy elite of NYC. Glittering with vintage jewels and rich writing, I was obsessed by the third chapter, and then spent the last quarter frozen in a fetal position of shock. Novels that lead with character versus plot don’t often earn high marks from me, because I need external action or I get *whispers*bored*whispers* But when done exceptionally well, character-driven narratives have the ability to transcend the page. And holy cannoli, SHE REGRETS NOTHING was one hundred percent the latter. I couldn’t get enough of the sublime dysfunction.
The book description, from Goodreads:
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 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.
For the most part, the Lawrences were self-involved narcissists, and it was a recipe for success to place Laila, a small-town social climber, into a world filled with the sort of folks who created complicated situations simply because they sought stimulation. Lock a handful of entitled characters in a room and each one will note the emergency exit, prepared to trample over all others in the case of an emergency, or maybe just because they feel like it. Ha! I love manipulative, ego-centric characters with a vindictive streak. They make the most marvellous pot stirrers.
Cover design by Rachel Willey
Cover Photograph by Tom Hull/Gallery Stock
But SHE REGRETS NOTHING isn't mindless fluff. The superb writing left me in awe of Dunlop’s smooth and addictive voice. Hell, I even pulled a bunch of quotes, which is a rarity. The pacing was perfect, and I loved learning about the layered past of each character.
Then there's the matter of the last 80 pages, which were COMPLETELY BANANAPANTS.
Like, they were a crescendo that lasted longer than any crescendo in the history of crescendos.
Because a thing happened—a thing that deserves to be all-caps, bold, and italicized. Yes friends, I’m talking about a THING so mental that I wanted to throw the book, pick it back up and then throw it again because AHHHHHHHH.
So while the novel started with Laila’s journey to the Big Apple, and followed her attempt to insert herself into her estranged family (which was highly entertaining on its own) the deep dive into each character’s mind served as a launching point for a sinister plot twist. Without knowing these people on such an intimate level, this THING wouldn't have held nearly as much weight. There's far more than meets the eye in SHE REGRETS NOTHING and I’m proud of other reviewers for not revealing a single hint about the madness, because I honestly had to talk to somebody afterwards—it’s just too mental! If you love Gossip Girl or The Real Housewives of Anything, or books about characters you'll love to hate (and also love because there are a couple of awesome ones!) you need to read SHE REGRETS NOTHING!
Big thanks to Atria Books for sending me a finished copy!
For this mani, I used:
OPI – Mod About You, You Are So Outta Lime, Lucky Lucky Lavender, A Good Man-Darin is Hard to Find, and matte topcoat
China Glaze – Fresh Prince-ss
FingerPaints – Black Expressionism and Paper Mâché
So Nailicious – warrior, needle, and slayer brushes