ABOUT THE BOOK
As a fashion buyer at one of New York’s most glamorous department stores, Dana McGarry is a tastemaker, her keen instinct for fashion trends and innovative ideas coupled with a razor sharp business sense. But like the elegant and conservative store that employs her, Dana is caught between two eras—between being liked and standing her ground, between playing by the rules and being a maverick. Dana is sensitive and beautiful, but what you see is not what you get. Behind the cool and attractive facade, Dana is both driven by her need to control yet impeded by her expectation of perfectionism. As she competes to replace women at the top of their game, she is challenged by jealous colleagues. And when a wealthy love interest wants to open doors and support her ambition, she embraces Coco Chanel’s mantra of “never wanting to weigh more heavily on a man than a bird.” As the women’s movement paves the way, Dana finds a path to the career she wants at the expense of happiness that was not meant to be.
Steward captures the nuances of 70s life in New York City and provides the perfect backdrop for an independent woman determined to make her mark. What Might Have Been is a story that transcends any period.
Title: What Might Have Been
Genre: Literary fiction/women’s fiction
Author: Lynn Steward
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Lynn Steward, a veteran of the New York fashion industry and a buyer on the team that started the women’s department at Brooks Brothers, created the Dana McGarry series, set at a transformational time in the 1970s world of fashion and in the lives of multigenerational women. What Might Have Been is the second volume in the series. A Very Good Life, Steward’s debut novel, was published in March 2014.
What I Thought:
Dana McGarry is a fashion buyer in New York. That just sounds like a cool job. Dana is a well developed. complex character. That was one of my favorite things about this book, how all of the characters were so intense and well developed, but especially how there was more to Dana that the façade she put on. Another thing I loved was how the book was set in the 1970s, but presented a strong independent female protagonist who is trying to make a difference in the fashion world.
I really enjoyed this book. Steward has a gift for storytelling. I loved the characters, the setting, the time period, all of it. This was the second book in a series, but I was able to read it as a stand alone. However after reading it, I would love to read the entire series.
I give this book four stars. I highly recommend it to fashion lovers, people who love reading period pieces, and people who like reading books with strong independent female protagonists.