We Could Be Beautiful

Originally published June 2016

Sometimes, summer reading is just for fun.

You want a beach book that you can read in a weekend and leave behind for the next person taking up residence in the cabana. Something engaging, but not too taxing on the brain.

We Could Be Beautiful, by Swan Huntley, is that kind of book.

Huntley’s debut is an escapist read—the story of 40-something Catherine West, a poor little rich girl whose lifestyle so few of us can possibly understand. It’s the rare person that is the beneficiary of a will that automatically deposits $80,000 a month into your bank account. That owns a card shop that makes no money. That shudders at the thought of the inability to drop $4,000 on a purse.

If you can get past the wildly unrealistic character that is Catherine (I had major issues summoning any kind of empathy for her, and found myself more drawn to her sister Caroline), you’ll enjoy the journey—desperate for love, our protagonist meets and falls for an older gent—William Stockton, banker extraordinaire. Readers, along with Catherine’s friends and family, pick up on the not-so-subtle clues that William is not the man she thinks he is. In fact, he’s downright creepy. But why, why, why is he creepy? And will Catherine ever figure it out?

Catherine’s lack of any redeeming qualities made it difficult to root for her, but nonetheless, I was compelled to understand the mystery that is William’s connection to the West family. Such.A.Jerk. Right up until the end.

Pros: Easy read, great creepy twist at the end.

Cons: Difficult to relate to and empathize with any of the characters.

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