With the death of her mother, Laila Lawrence is left an orphan at the age of 23. Laila resides herself to a middle class life in the midwest, engaged to a dentist and working as a hygienist. However, when three unknown Lawrence cousins show up at Laila's mother's funeral, Laila discovers an entire family, lifestyle and family feud that have been hidden from her. Her cousin, Liberty makes a connection with Laila. With her mother's death Laila discovers the reason for the feud and decides to change her life. Two years after becoming an orphan, Laila divorces her husband and sets out for New York City. Laila is staying with her cousin Nora and soon discovers the affluent Lawrence lifestyle, living off of a trust fund, partying every night and meeting billionaires, Laila begins to find her place among the family she believes she should have been part of all along. Although, as her star rises, Laila becomes entangled in other schemes and plots that may set off yet another Lawrence family rift when all she wanted to do was fit in.
She Regrets Nothing is an interesting twist on a modern glam Cinderella where Cinderella uses her family for all it's worth and Prince Charming is anything but. Laila intrigued me from the beginning and even now, I don't really know how I feel about her. As Laila maneuvered her way through the Lawrences, my feelings for her see-sawed from 'you go girl!' to asking myself if she had a mental problem. Although, as Laila states, she is playing the part of the chameleon; and she does it amazingly well. I do wish that I got to see more of the true Laila, but perhaps we got to see her in the end. It was Liberty that captured my full attention, I loved her authenticity and the way she both accepted and declined parts of her expected role within society. The writing skillfully balanced mystery, suspense, complicated relationships and family drama against the backdrop of Manhattan's posh social scene. I was probably as awed as Laila at some of the clubs and people in it, I was equally amazed when I found out that Mustique Island was a real place. I became even more pulled into the story near the end as things began to fall apart and I wondered how Laila would keep her carefully crafted life afloat.
This book received from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
I love the cover for Work of Art by Ken La Salle, when something so simple can say so much.
What is your definition of art? After reading Work of Art by Ken La Salle, you may change your mind.
The whole time I’m reading, I’m trying to take notes, but the words won’t come. This is one of those books that took me down a road I didn’t anticipate, but I was happy to have traveled.
Andy Hollis is fascinated, some would say obsessed, with Joseph Avilla, a young artist who is painting flowers on the asphalt parking lot. Why? Some would ask, why not?
Joseph has a home, a mother and a father, but Andy only sees him painting in the parking lot at all hours of the day and night.
Andy is an art teacher and thinks Joseph needs to be in his class. I think the one who will learn the most is Andy.
We all march to a different drummer and have to find our own way, though a little help from our friends never hurts.
The characters and their motivations grow and change, as do the situations they find themselves in.
This is one of those reviews that was hard for me to write. I just can’t seem to find the words…BUT, once I started to read Work of Art, I couldn’t stop until I reached the end and I am really looking forward to the next one.
Ken La Salle writes with attitude, sarcasm, wit. and humor. His books always surprise me and that is a very good thing.
I voluntarily reviewed a free copy of Work of Art by Ken La Salle.
To see the interview and read more, go HERE
MY KEN LA SALLE REVIEWS
*I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.
This is my first book with Misty Gray narrating. I found her interesting because we start with Delta who wrote the letter and get a Southern accent, then we get a section from Douglas with a Scottish accent. We end with chapter one from Tallulah's voice, which is different than the previous two. I was struck with these different accents and taken by them. Misty was clear and clean throughout the book, nothing to distract from the words of the story.
Delta feels like a strong woman with solid beliefs of all around her from her letter we read in the prologue. She sounds like a kind person based on that first line. From that letter, it feels that family is important to Delta. She keeps track of the family line as though it's important, and uses it. However, we only meet Delta at the beginning in the letter and at the end by phone.
For listening, the book is broken up strange and, at times, it's hard to pick up on. There are sections in each chapter with sub-titles instead of a new chapter. For audiobook, it doesn't always translate well because we don't see these titles, and sometimes sound to be part of the story. I did adapt and knew to keep an ear open for them.
Okay, in the beginning I wasn't sure where the story was going. We get Delta's letter then Doug's account with the sheep. I thought I knew where the story was going, but then we get into chapter one that's Tal's reminiscing about her family past. This felt like it was a huge info dump without leading us on the story. It was about her parents - who related to, who died, and what they did and how they died. Then we end the chapter right where Doug ended up with the sheep. The story took off from there.
The story is good. But it's not my style of writing and format. I like Tallulah and her story. She's on the go, trying to get away from the father of her child as he's not a good person or the lifestyle she wants for her daughter. She makes her way to the home town of her family roots. And here she finds a good man and good people. Tal even learns about her family heritage, which she didn't know with losing her mama so young.
The romance... Tal does find a man. But the relationship between her and him and him and her daughter seems to happen so fast. Like in two days fast. Okay, maybe three? I know it's a novella and looking past the quickness, it made for a sweet story.
The story has a few different angles to it. There is a sweet love that blossoms, of course. But we also see more here. Tal has a daughter and some troubles she's running from. Tal gets a solution to those problems and grows as a character too. We also see the thread that will connect the stories in this series - Free Wheeler, a small town. There is a history here that Tal starts to dig into and learns.
As for the cooking reference, I was expecting more "magic" in the baking. There is love backed in those biscuits, and people love them but I thought there would be some spark related to the baking. It wasn't as much of a tie as I thought there would be, but that's okay.
It's a sweet story with Tal who's drawn to bake all sorts of goodies with heart and memories. Family and friends are everything, and will help you when you are in need.