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"This house is hers. It's not yours. Don't make me stop you, Adam. Because I will. I will do everything in my power to keep this house for Beck's boys."

Laurel, fighting to keep Susannah's house, It's Not Summer Without You

Laurel Dunne

Name

Laurel Dunne

Age

N/A 35+

Gender

Female

Nicknames

Laur
Laurie

Occupation

N/A

Family

Steven Conklin (son)
Isabel Conklin (daughter)

Significant Others

Mr. Conklin (ex-husband)

Laurel Dunne is Belly and Steven's mother and the former wife of their father, whom she divorced early on in her children's lives. She is Susannah's childhood best friend and the two are very close and consider themselves true sisters despite no biological relation.

Laurel can be very rigid and business-like in life. She has a sometimes rocky relationship with Belly, but is still close with her. She is also a second motherly figure to her late best friend's sons, Conrad and Jeremiah.

Her best friend's death, due to a lifelong battle with cancer, is a major blow to her and she struggles to come to terms with accepting her friend's death almost the hardest. Eventually, she learns to cope with Susannah's absence in her life and to move forward in her life. 

Appearance and Personality

Laurel is described is shown to be outspoken yet rigid and sensitive as well. She can get heavily involved with the topic of politics, which is shown to be a comical annoyance for the family. Laurel is also a strong feminist and passionately believes in women's rights and independence to where Taylor comments that she is like "Gloria freaking Steinem". It is because of her beliefs that she called Susannah by her maiden name "Beck" as she personally believed a woman should not have to change her last name for a man.

She isn't afraid to speak her mind when she wants to such as outright calling Adam an "asshat" when he wrongly yelled at Jeremiah or slapping Belly when she is pushed to her limit (although the latter she regretted and apologized for). When Belly and Jeremiah announce their engagement at eighteen years old, she bluntly states her refusal to attend the wedding or give her blessing in any way because she didn't agree with it. She is only convinced to accept it by Conrad who talks her into making amends with her only daughter and just to reluctantly make the best of it.

Series

To be added...

Relationships

Laurel is shown to be kind and caring towards almost all of the characters throughout the series. She has close relationships Steven, Belly, Conrad and Jeremiah. Kids are told to like her because she treats them like equal adults. 

Isabel Conklin 

Isabel, or more known as "Belly", is her second child and only daughter. She is shown to be desperate to have the relationship with Belly as she has with Susannah, which is very close and intimate. She can struggle to understand Belly, who is the opposite of her in terms of personality, but makes an effort to be close with her. Growing up, Belly found it hard to connect with her mother due to her stubborn and stern personality. This caused Belly to sometimes wonder if her mother actually cared about her and strained their relationship. As time went by, Belly began viewing Susannah emotionally more as her mother, developing a deep attachment to her, since she felt she was much more maternal towards her as opposed to Laurel. However, Susannah frequently told Belly that Laurel did sincerely love her, even if she had a hard time showing it.

In the second novel, following Susannah's death, Belly and Laurel's relationship hits an all time strain. Laurel takes her best friend's death extremely hard and stops properly communicating to an also grieving Belly. Upon Belly making a drunk phone call to her while at the beach house, she arrives there and expects her daughter to leave with her despite learning that the beach house Susannah owned is going to be sold. Belly then calls her mother out on only focusing on her own grief while ignoring everyone else around her, telling her how disappointed Susannah would be in her. This brings Laurel to slap her daughter, shocking them both. Afterwards, she apologizes to Belly for what she did and admits that she has been so self-absorbed in her personal grief and pain that she hasn't bothered to care for Belly as well. The two re-connect and are happy when Laurel convinces Mr. Fisher to let them keep the beach house.

In the third and final novel, Laurel and Belly's relationship meets the largest test of all when she learns of her eighteen year old's engagement to Jeremiah. Laurel is just about outraged at this, desperately trying to convince Belly to end the too-early arrangement. When Belly refuses to do so, Laurel bluntly tells her that she will not give her blessing or be there at the wedding. Belly angrily leaves to stay the beach house and the two women stop talking all together, despite both being emotionally devastated at the wedge between them. Conrad soon patches things up between them when realizing the mental toll it was taking on Belly, convincing Laurel to simply make the best of the situation. Laurel shows up at Belly's wedding shower, resulting in an emotionally tearful reunion between the two of them.

Years later, Laurel helps out Belly during her engagement and wedding to Conrad. It is implied she helped Belly pick out her wedding dress as well as taking an active role during the wedding planning.

Steven Conklin

The relationship between her and Steven is not explored due to his minor role in the series, but the two can be shown to have a very typical mother/son relationship. 

Quotes

Trivia

  • She had known Susannah since she was nine years old and considered the young woman her sister, despite no biological relation. They both shared heart shaped scars on their wrists.
  • She is one of three couples who divorced their spouse in the trilogy.
  • Her most well known quality is her stubbornness and refusal to budge on matters. It is both a good and bad thing. Good; as it helped her save Susannah's beach house in the second novel. However, bad as it sometimes drove a wedge in her relationships; such as with Belly, her daughter and sometimes Susannah, her best friend when it came to her handling her cancer.
  • Laurel is the one who gave Susannah her nickname "Beck" and was the only person to call her by it.
  • She and Susannah sometimes smoked her medical marijuana together. When caught by the kids one time when they were younger, she defended her actions by saying she was providing "moral support" for her best friend.
  • She is heavily interested in politics and is a strong feminist.