Strong female characters are not always the mushiest and likeable ones but they sure make for great and inspirational stories – both in life and in literature. Dana McGarry, the protagonist in Lynn Steward‘s second novel – What Might Have Been, is one such.
Dana is a newly single woman who has just started her life journey onto the right side of thirty. She has filed for a legal separation from her husband of 8 years because inspite of all her efforts he still proved his infidelity. While swinging between guilt that her christian upbringing and its beliefs about divorce pined on her and the liberation of having stopped pretending to be in a happy marriage, Dana is trying to make the best of her life by focusing on her career. While she is supported considerably by her friends, she has to battle it out at work where professional competition is at its zenith. Will Dana emerge a winner after a shattering heartbreak and in a cut through world is what the book is about.
What Might have Been is the second book in the Dana McGarry series, though this does not make it any less of a standalone book. I haven’t read the first book – A Very Good Life, but enjoyed this one nonetheless. Though I think reading the first book would have connected me with the characters more. Steward builds his protagonist well and takes time in setting up the stage. This results in the reader feeling for Dana and going through the set of emotions which she is going through. We end up living her. That that is an enjoyable literary experience.
Though the book cover did not impress initially, but once you get an idea about the settings where the story is playing out the cover seems good. In fact apt. What Might have Been is set in the United States of America in the 1970s and through Dana coveys the changeover period in american fashion industry – the challenges, the old vs. new idea clashes, the office competition as well as the feminist revolution. Many challenges that Dana faces still stand relevant and any women reading this book will relate to the protagonist’s journey and her choices immediately.
The story moves at a considerable pace though for me it took some time to establish my interest, initially. The character buildup was good but it did impact the pace of the story. But once character sketches were done with, the story glided on.
What Might have Been is a feel good and inspiring story of a women finding her own sunshine and learning to enjoy her challenges to the hilt. This is the story of her struggles, her confusions, her choices and the consequences. Every women who feels she is strong will connect to Dana and will take away a part of Steward’s protagonist with her.
Not a male bashing feminist literature, but if you are a person with balanced views you will love this.
I received a review copy of this book from B00kr3vi3wstours in exchange for an honest review. The views expressed in this review are completely mine and are in no manner affected by the source of the review copy.