We Could Be Beautiful
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We Could Be Beautiful : A Novel

3.22 (4,835 ratings by Goodreads)
By (author) 

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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.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 352 pages
  • 131 x 203 x 27mm | 296g
  • DOUBLEDAY
  • English
  • 0385541732
  • 9780385541732
  • 486,978

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Review Text

"Huntley is adept at deploying Catherine's good fortune as a fulcrum of suspense... Huntley deftly establishes Catherine's tendency to rationalize and repress... Lively... Huntley writes with wit and verve, excelling at economically hilarious descriptions... The book's strengths lie... in the zippy social satire, in the portrait of a dysfunctional family (Catherine's relationship with her sister turns out to be especially affecting) and, most of all, in Catherine's voice--strange and funny and engaging to the very end."
-Jennifer DuBois, The New York Times Book Review

"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

"A novel that is deeper than its heiress-meets-man-of-her-dreams setup. The reason: Huntley's uncanny ability to detect the fault lines in Manhattan's glitterati as if flaws in a precious diamond-and make us laugh about them."
- O Magazine

"A riveting psychological thriller, Huntley's debut takes you inside the world of Manhattan's elite-and keeps you on tenterhooks."
- People, "Book of the Week"

"A sparkling dark romance... Huntley strings you blissfully along (like a great con man)...right up until that epic twist."
- Redbook

"Quite the psychological thriller that keeps readers on edge wondering how far Catherine will go and how much she'll sacrifice for the truth... Brilliantly exposes the life of an affluent family and what greed, lies and wealth can do to them."
-Amanda Douville, New York Daily News

"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 (STARRED REVIEW)

From the Hardcover edition.
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Review quote

"Huntley is adept at deploying Catherine's good fortune as a fulcrum of suspense... Huntley deftly establishes Catherine's tendency to rationalize and repress... Lively... Huntley writes with wit and verve, excelling at economically hilarious descriptions... The book's strengths lie... in the zippy social satire, in the portrait of a dysfunctional family (Catherine's relationship with her sister turns out to be especially affecting) and, most of all, in Catherine's voice--strange and funny and engaging to the very end." 
—Jennifer DuBois, The New York Times Book Review
 
"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
 
“A novel that is deeper than its heiress-meets-man-of-her-dreams setup. The reason: Huntley’s uncanny ability to detect the fault lines in Manhattan’s glitterati as if flaws in a precious diamond—and make us laugh about them.”
—O Magazine
 
“A riveting psychological thriller, Huntley’s debut takes you inside the world of Manhattan’s elite—and keeps you on tenterhooks.”
—People, “Book of the Week”
 
“A sparkling dark romance… Huntley strings you blissfully along (like a great con man)…right up until that epic twist.”
—Redbook
 
“Quite the psychological thriller that keeps readers on edge wondering how far Catherine will go and how much she'll sacrifice for the truth… Brilliantly exposes the life of an affluent family and what greed, lies and wealth can do to them.”
—Amanda Douville, New York Daily News
 
* “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 (STARRED REVIEW)


From the Hardcover edition.
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About Swan Huntley

SWAN HUNTLEY earned her MFA from Columbia University. She's received fellowships from the MacDowell Colony and the Ragdale Foundation. She lives in California and Hawaii.


From the Hardcover edition.
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Rating details

4,835 ratings
3.22 out of 5 stars
5 10% (487)
4 29% (1,383)
3 41% (1,959)
2 15% (735)
1 6% (271)
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