This post may contain affiliate links. For more info on this, visit my disclosure page. Thank you for your support in this way!

 
We Could Be Beautiful Review: Back-of-Book Description

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.
We Could Be Beautiful Review: My Thoughts

Ok – I am going to say right off the bat that this my second iteration of this review. I had it mostly laid out and then was interrupted. When I came back a couple days later the whole draft had been wiped away. So it is entirely possible that some of my thoughts are now missing or incomplete.

Also – a remarkable thing happened when I was reading this book. I will get to that bit in just a moment.

Anyway, my first experience with this author was when I won a copy of Getting Clean with Stevie Green from a Goodreads giveaway. Click on the title to check out my thoughts on that one, but spoiler – I adored it. So much so, that I sought out another book by her and the first one I found was We Could Be Beautiful. Which so happens to be her debut novel. 

It sat on my shelf for just a little bit until I felt ready for what I knew would be a slower paced, drama-based, and possibly introspective story. I feel like that cover assessment of this book was correct, as it was slower paced for sure. I like how the back of the book refers to it as physiological; where I am usually used to seeing that term in books followed by thriller. This is definitely not a thriller, but it is psychological.

It took me a little while to get into the story. Even though I know there was something building, I just kept feeling kind of bored. But right as I was really into it and ready to uncover the big reveal, all of the sudden the book went from page 324 to 357. Thirty-three pages were just missing! I couldn’t believe it. I was outraged!

I took a moment to reach out to the authors website and email the publisher, but then I felt like… I just had to know how it ended! So, I finished it, even though I know a huge part was missing. I had already kind of come to certain conclusions, so it didn’t seem like too big of a risk.

A few weeks later, a new copy of We Could Be Beautiful arrived (so grateful to the author and/or her assistant, as well as the publisher!) and I read the story from page 324 in order to get the story as it was supposed to be. And I have to say…. I think I liked the version in my head a tiny bit better. Without giving anything away it’s kind of hard to explain.

In any case, overall the story was good and unique with just enough psychological drama to keep you interested. The characters were a little hard to relate to, but I think most of that was due to them being wildly rich. lol. The writing felt a little… novice to me (which makes sense since it was her debut) compared to some other books, but I still found some quotes I liked.

 
Favorite Quotes from We Could Be Beautiful:

This is incredibly frustrating, since I not only lost my previous version of this review, but it also seems I got rid of the original, defective copy of the book. So this quote list is likely incomplete.

“It took me a long time to understand that what I had wanted was not a picture of something perfect. I already had that. What I had wanted was the feeling inside the pictures, the thing I had been trying to buy and drink and eat and not eat and fake my way to all my life. I wanted what everyone wanted. I wanted love.”

“Every event is a choice to give up or persevere.”

“I had thought that beauty was in the flashy, pretty things you acquired to prove that you were happy. But a flash is just a flash. It blinds you and then it disappears. Now I think real beauty might be in all the small and obvious places I had overlooked.”

“Denial, I have learned, is not the act of lying to yourself. Denial is not an act, it’s a state. It’s the state of not knowing you are a liar.”

“We do not choose to be blind, and when we are blind, we don’t know that. We see as much as we can bear to see, and we assume that’s all there is.”

We Could Be Beautiful Review: In Conclusion

This review is strange and frustrating, since I got a defective book on my first attempt and then my initial review was erased.  So, a fair amount of time has passed and now I also feel irritated. However! I think I can safely say that my overall rating of We Could Be Beautiful is 3 stars. As far as debuts go, it was fine, and fairly interesting, but not wildly impressive. 

I would still recommend it to people who like family drama or slow burning psychological stories. 

Since it wasn’t the first book of hers I read, I do not feel like my opinion of her writing is really affected by this one novel, and I will continue to read her books in the future, for sure.

 

Thank you for taking the time to read this review of We Could Be Beautiful – feel free to share! Check out my other book reviews here and pin or share your favorite quotes below. 

“Every event is a choice to give up or persevere.”
“Denial, I have learned, is not the act of lying to yourself. Denial is not an act, it’s a state. It’s the state of not knowing you are a liar.”
“It took me a long time to understand that what I had wanted was not a picture of something perfect. I already had that. What I had wanted was the feeling inside the pictures, the thing I had been trying to buy and drink and eat and not eat and fake my way to all my life. I wanted what everyone wanted. I wanted love.”
“We do not choose to be blind, and when we are blind, we don’t know that. We see as much as we can bear to see, and we assume that’s all there is.”
“I had thought that beauty was in the flashy, pretty things you acquired to prove that you were happy. But a flash is just a flash. It blinds you and then it disappears. Now I think real beauty might be in all the small and obvious places I had overlooked.”
root directorygoogle.com, pub-8788340469212886, DIRECT, f08c47fec0942fa0