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 and 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.
"Posh Manhattanite Catherine West has everything but the family she's always wanted. But when she falls for the man of her supposed dreams, she unravels a web of deception that upends life as she knows it.... Mesmerizing.... As elegantly plotted as it is - and it is - Huntley's debut stands out not for its thrills but rather for her hawkish eye for social detail and razor-sharp wit. It is more than a classic psychological thriller: it is also a haunting - and weirdly moving - portrait of love and family among Manhattan's flailing upper crust. An intoxicating escape; as smart as it is fun." (Kirkus)
"Here's a thriller we can sink into. Deeply psychological and nuanced, Huntley's We Could Be Beautiful follows one wealthy Manhattan woman who has nearly everything. The one thing she lacks, however, is a relationship. That is, until her white knight comes along one evening. But it never quite works out that way, does it? (Not in a book like this, certainly.) Huntley's novel is a twisting, turning, secret-filled story that's worthy of your precious summer reading time." (Meredith Turits, Elle)
"We Could Be Beautiful is a sexy psychological thriller about wealth and class and the endless mysteries of romantic engagement. At the heart of Swan Huntley's sly and witty debut is the unsettling question that anyone who's ever been in love has wondered about the person they've given their heart to: Who are you?" (Dennis Lehane)
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fairly complete & satisfying
A Stunningly Bad Book