Cleo McDougal is a born politician. From congresswoman to senator, the magnetic, ambitious single mother now has her eye on the White House—always looking forward, never back. Until an estranged childhood friend shreds her in an op-ed hit piece gone viral.

With seven words—“Cleo McDougal is not a good person”—the presidential hopeful has gone from in control to damage control, and not just in Washington but in life.

Enter Cleo’s “regrets list” of 233 and counting. Her chief of staff has a brilliant idea: pick the top ten, make amends during a media blitz, and repair her reputation. But there are regrets, and there are regrets: like her broken relationship with her sister, her affair with a law school professor…and the regret too big to even say out loud.

But with risk comes reward, and as Cleo makes both peace and amends with her past, she becomes more empowered than ever to tackle her career, confront the hypocrites out to destroy her, and open her heart to what matters most—one regret at a time.

Politics do not mesh well with an ordinary life and a journey moving forward, which sometimes means fixing the mistakes of the past. In Cleo McDougal Regrets Nothing, we meet a determined thirty-something woman who has suffered losses and in spite of them, decides to change her life. We get to see what fixing one’s life looks like up close and personal.Cleo is a delightful character who could have been your next-door neighbor or a best friend from high school, but her career in politics has made everything more intense, more focused. To make up for the void in her life, she has made her career and her teenage son the center of her life, to the exclusion of everyone else.The startling op-ed piece written by her former high school friend turns her life upside down and she finds herself determined to fix everything. Even if it means looking at that long list of regrets she created over the years.

I liked Cleo, in spite of, or maybe because of those errors in judgment. I didn’t like MaryAnne Newman, who turned a competitive action in high school into something so much more…and then wouldn’t let it go. But then again, she had made their competition into something that meant the whole world to her and explained everything that went wrong in her life. Teenage angst can linger long into adulthood, and in Cleo’s case, picking up the pieces became a goal. Something to work toward. Making amends and changing how she moved forward. Even confronting one of her biggest errors in judgment.

Social media and the hashtag experience figured into Cleo’s path forward and kept the story relevant and interesting. 4.5 stars.





Our story begins in London, in 2014, with our MC Cat pondering her life: the choices she has made, the numerous mistakes, and the events that have led to her newfound serenity. She is a journalist; she is divorced, with a thirteen year old daughter, Annie; and her ex-husband Jason was the love of her life. But somehow she has made peace with what she has lost.

Flashbacks and fast forwards take us through Cat’s journey, and we soon learn about her addiction to alcohol, her numerous relapses, and how she finally bottomed out.

Nantucket is featured prominently in Summer Secrets, and as we connect with Cat’s mother Audrey’s story, we discover the very first big secret that defines their lives and informs what will come after.

Will Cat’s discovery of her mother’s secret change her life? Or will it lend itself to further disaster when she, too, visits Nantucket in 1998. What happens to finally alter Cat’s trajectory in life, and how will everything settle down for her? What will happen between Cat and her new-found half-sister Julia that will cause a rift that will last for years?

I loved settling into this story and feeling a connection to Cat. The descriptions of her drinking experiences echo some of mine, even though my journey did not lead to addiction. But hard partying was a common theme in the sixties and seventies, when I was young. I also loved the settings of London and Nantucket, even though I have never visited either place, except in books and movies. The author made me feel as if I were there.

As the story fast forwards to 2014 again, we see Cat returning to Nantucket to make amends…and when she believes that the past is truly behind her, she is stunned by an unexpected turn of events. How can she go on now, and what will ultimately bring about a resolution for her?

I loved this book and must give it five stars. Fans of Jane Green should enjoy this one.