She Regrets Nothing
Published February 6, 2018
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.This is one of those books that had so much potential for me (NYC setting, family secrets), but unfortunately, it fell flat. After her mother dies, Laila Lawrence finds out she's actually a member of a very wealthy New York family. Two years later, she moves to NYC to claw her way into the lives of her cousins (Liberty, Nora, and Leo).
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. - from Goodreads
Laila is probably one of the most unlikable main characters I've ever come across. She's a conniving, manipulative social climber. She feels she's entitled to a glamorous lifestyle and is willing to dredge up old family secrets in order to get her way. Lying is second-nature to her, and she readily puts on different personas depending on who she's trying to manipulate.
Many of the other characters are just as bad as Laila. Nora and Leo are stereotypical socialites, allergic to hard work and addicted to gossip and spending money. Pretty much all the male characters are sexist and ageist (such as believing only women in their 20s are worth marrying, for their looks and fertility). Perhaps it's an accurate look at the lives of the wealthy (I wouldn't know), but it was hard to get past. Pretty much the only redeeming character is Liberty, who is so dedicated to her career as a literary agent despite not needing to work (I love that she is always reading a book!).
The writing was kind of bland and stilted at times, and it was hard to get a handle on the tone of the book. It wasn't really scandalous enough to be dark, nor light enough to be chick lit. Then, an event near the end of the book comes out of nowhere and unfortunately for me brought the whole book down with unnecessary drama. If the story had just focused more on Laila and how she tries to insert herself into the rest of the family (and been about 50-75 pages shorter), I think the book could have been more successful.