What Might Have Been is a true-to-form chic lit novel with a story based around the city life in the 1970s, the fashion industry, the art of miniature paintings, and the women’s movement. There is so much more in this than what the typical chic lit novel usually provides. I’m not usually one for girly romance novels but this about a woman who is strong and working on finding the growth within herself without having a man to help her do it. There is some romance but it’s not the focal point of the book.
Dana is a pretty young woman who is driven to further her career as a fashion buyer for one of New York’s top department stores and wants to eventually open her own boutique. She has a talent for being a “tastemaker” which means she can predict what will become hot new trends before they happen. This talent makes her a threat to her colleagues who also want to climb the fashion business ladder. Dana’s also in the midst of divorcing her cheating husband and she is confused about whether she should try to work it out with him and start a family, like all “good” women of the time were expected to do. This is the second book in the Dana McGarry series and it tells about her drive to be who she wants to be, not who society dictates. As is stated at the end of the book, there is “no easy path, no shortcut to achieving success”.
I enjoyed Ms. Stewart’s style of writing and how she developed her characters. They are all very realistic and this, combined with her descriptions of the fashion world, made it a very entertaining and an intriguing book to read. I found her knowledge of the 1970s, the business side of the fashion industry, and the hobby of collecting miniature paintings very interesting. There were times I found the pace a bit slow but then something would happen to catch my interest again. Overall, this is an enjoyable read.