Book Review: What May Have Been by Lynn Steward

  • ASIN:  B00U8CR2KG
  • Genre: Contemporary Fiction / Romance/ Literary fiction / Women's Fiction
  • Publishers: Lynn Steward Publishing
  • Price: Rs. 250/- (I got this book from the b00k r3vi3w for a review)

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.

Behind the book

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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.You can reach the author at:

Me thinks

If a cover like that isn't enough to make you want to read it, let me give you more reasons- New York - 1970s - A fashion buyer  - It makes for a perfect setting to write a women centric novel on! And if this wasn't enough to trigger the book lover in you then let me add the most important thing about this book - THIS is not a LOVE story! That should be the clincher in any case.

I have always loved women centric fiction. Somehow it is kind of liberating to know that I have company in terms of my thoughts and to some extent, actions too.Though I have not the previous book in this series by the author it in no way harms the reading experience of this book. This book can also be read as a stand alone book though it does help having read the previous part. You tend to warm up to the lead character a bit more than what you would otherwise.  I have always been challenged every time I have used the word "independent" for technically speaking till the time we are alive there is never a moment when we are not dependent on anyone or anything. But perhaps it comes from the deep desire of ours to be free from any bondage or predefined notions of how I am supposed to live.

Having faced a personal tragedy Dana, our heroine holds onto her career with all that she has in her as her life is now solely revolving around it. The book charts her journey from thereon as she steadily tries to make a place for herself in the corporate world and protect everything that she has to got call of her own. I loved her character a lot and could relate to it largely. Though it has been set in the 1970s in NY there are a lot of things you would find which are still relevant in our society even today. This book is a reminder of the simple yet important fact of our life - Beyond our comfort zone lies out courage zone... a place where dreams come true because there we dare. After lying dormant in her comfort zone for long till she has been jolted out with shocks Dana has now no choice but to move to her courage zone and redefine what life is all about for her. Will she succeed? That is a question which will keep haunting you till the end. You will laugh with her, cry with her and celebrate life with Dana.

I would strongly recommend this to all women out there. If you think you are strong this is something you will enjoy reading, if you need strength this will be the source and if you are looking for some solace like me then this is it.

Foodie Verdict

This book is like Kanda Bhajji Pau - crunchy and spicy , a perfect companion to rainy weekend afternoon when all that you want to do is indulge yourself!