We Could Be Beautiful
by Swan Huntley
Doubleday | June 28, 2016
ARC Copy Courtesy of Publisher
        A spellbinding psychological debut novel, Swan Huntley’s We Could Be Beautiful is the story of a wealthy woman who has everything—and yet can trust no one.
        Catherine West has spent her entire life surrounded by beautiful things. She owns an immaculate Manhattan apartment, she collects fine art, she buys exquisite handbags and clothing, and she constantly redecorates her home. And yet, despite all this, she still feels empty. She sees her personal trainer, she gets weekly massages, and occasionally she visits her mother and sister on the Upper East Side, but after two broken engagements and boyfriends who wanted only her money, she is haunted by the fear that she’ll never have a family of her own. One night, at an art opening, Catherine meets William Stockton, a handsome man who shares her impeccable taste and love of beauty. He is educated, elegant, and even has a personal connection—his parents and Catherine’s parents were friends years ago. But as he and Catherine grow closer, she begins to encounter strange signs, and her mother, Elizabeth (now suffering from Alzheimer’s), seems to have only bad memories of William as a boy. In Elizabeth’s old diary she finds an unnerving letter from a former nanny that cryptically reads: “We cannot trust anyone…” Is William lying about his past? And if so, is Catherine willing to sacrifice their beautiful life in order to find the truth? Featuring a fascinating heroine who longs for answers but is blinded by her own privilege, We Could Be Beautiful is a glittering, seductive, utterly surprising story of love, money, greed, and family.
I really enjoyed the story. It doesn't have the best writing, but I really enjoyed the plot. It's one of those guilty pleasure books. I was indulging in the life of the rich and famous. The book does have romance, but I wouldn't say it's a romance driven plot, which makes me very happy. Catherine falls in love, but she finds her partner very mysterious and secretive. The story follows her search for answers. The answers are quite shocking and they leave a little bit of distaste in your mouth. It's provocative and fun It's The Catch meets Stoker 2013. (I somewhat recommend this movie. It has wonderful cinematography, beautiful sets, a nice color palette, and Gothic/dark vibes.)

The author was very specific and loaded her writing with parentheses. I felt dumb. It felt like the author had this preconceived notion that I/readers won't understand what she's trying to say, so she puts a lot of parentheses to explain things. If the author does believe this, I doubt she does, then she really has to work on making her writing concise and comprehensible, without parentheses. I sensed doubt in the writing. I could picture the author panicking over the manuscript, worrying if people will understand. Overall, questionable writing.

Since the story revolves around a wealthy woman and other wealthy people, you should expect really stuck up, spoiled, slightly racist, superficial and shady inner dialogue or remarks. Everyone was ALL T, ALL shade. It was gossip-like and unrelatable. It's a cattier version of Sex in the City, but the character doesn't have that many friends because she's not that nice. Expect bad investments, disdain for the middle class/the "help," materialistic greed, and begging for love from your unloving and ailing mother. That's pretty much the gist of the story. Everyone was fake.
After reading, I realized why Catherine is the way she is. She surrounds herself with beauty to obscure the ugly from her life. She's hiding her unhappiness and her failures in all aspects of life. The material wealth is what anchors her makes her feel better. Readers see the not so beautiful side of wealth. There is loneliness.

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