Tim Lewis, December 23, 2012 (view all comments by Tim Lewis)
I don’t normally read fiction like The Darlings, but it ended up being more interesting than I expected. Though it lacks real punch in the way of action, there is enough intrigue here to form a thriller out of the boring setting of the 2008 financial crisis. With a more likeable protagonist I think The Darlings could have possibly succeeded even more, though it might have made it blend in with all the other underdog attorney novels caught in a power struggle like most John Grisham legal novels. Those with a legal or financial background might take to The Darlings more readily. If anything, reading The Darlings might make you more thankful for what family and possessions you have or realize the pursuit of those things only makes the fall from grace that much greater. The Darlings is a solid debut novel from Cristina Alger. I only hope her next book will have at least one character that isn’t a wealthy, pretentious jerk.
Courtesy of Mother Daughter Book Club com, July 27, 2012 (view all comments by Courtesy of Mother Daughter Book Club com)
The Darling family of Manhattan seems to have everything: good looks, money, excellent taste in the things that matter, and a bright future. But when a close associate of Carter Darling commits suicide, the façade that was holding that future together starts to fall apart. Suddenly there’s talk of investor fraud, an SEC investigation and possible criminal charges. Everyone in the family�"Carter and his wife, their two daughters and sons-in-law�"stands to lose. Will their fierce loyalty to family help them through the crisis, or can they even trust each other now?
The Darlings by Cristina Alger is a fascinating look at the financial crisis of 2008 as seen through the eyes of wealthy investment bankers and lawyers as well as the secretaries who work for them and the journalists who write about them. As the story unfolds, readers get a behind-the-scenes look at the relationships and actions that could lead smart people to do things that were not so smart just to hold onto their lifestyles.
The lifestyle of the very wealthy is on display�"lavish purchases, vacation homes, and charity fundraisers that are more about the women organizing them than the cause are all part of the story. That alone is fun to read about, but it’s also interesting to get a peek into the lifestyles of the working class Manhattanites and the reasons they keep living in the city.
Author Cristina Alger knows what she’s writing about. As a native New Yorker, she graduated from Harvard and NYU Law School, then worked as an analyst and attorney before becoming an author. In her novel, she shows she is also skilled at telling a good story. And while keeping track of all the players in the action was sometimes a challenge, it was worth it when it all came together at the end with nearly every character playing a critical role in the outcome.
The publisher provided me with a copy of this book to review.
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Gracie, March 2, 2012 (view all comments by Gracie)
The Darlings aren't your average family. They're the 1%, with Park Avenue apartments, weekends in the Hamptons, and jobs in high finance. Paul Ross, however, wasn't born into this life. He married into it when he married Merrill Darling. He feels lucky to be part of the family and to have a job working for Merrill's father, Carter, when so many others are getting laid off in financially troubling times.
But something isn't right. When one tragic event brings attention not only from the media but also the SEC, Paul has to make a choice. He needs to decide whether he will save the family business or betray his family and save himself. Which is the right thing to do? And can he live with the consequences? No matter what happens, someone is going to lose, and lose big.
Cristina Alger has lived in that world and writes her debut novel with an insider's experience. The twisted connections between the Darlings, the SEC, and the journalists investigating both create an atmosphere of complex deception and intrigue that offers happy endings to some and not-so-happy endings to others. Whether the endings are right for the people who get them, well...that's the real question, isn't it?
"Publishers Weekly Review"
by Publishers Weekly,
"Two parts Too Big to Fail, one part The Devil Wears Prada, Alger's debut is taut and compelling. The recession-era Manhattan elite are bruised and a touch less confident than in their heyday, but the summer homes, charity balls, and general extravagance persist — and the titular family is still riding high. Alger's portrayal of the magnetic Darlings is convincing, particularly that of Paul Ross. Married to the eldest Darling daughter, he's a self-made man forced to take refuge in the employ of his father-in-law's hedge fund. What unfolds, amid all the character building, is a well-constructed Madoffian financial scandal, with Alger leaning on her knowledge (she is a graduate of NYU Law School and a former analyst for Goldman, Sachs) for verisimilitude that only occasionally overwhelms. Though the plot is bogged down by a secondary cast who come to drive the drama, sophisticated central characterizations make this novel well worth the time; Alger expertly evokes both sympathy and contempt for her characters and writes with a polished ease, telling the story of our time (or a particular glittery, corrupt corner of our time) with a mix of ruthlessness and sensitivity. Agent: McCormick & Williams." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
A Bonfire of the Vanities for our times, by an author who "knows her way around 21st-century wealth and power" (The Wall Street Journal)
Since he married Merrill Darling, daughter of billionaire financier Carter Darling, attorney Paul Ross has grown accustomed to all the luxuries of Park Avenue. But a tragic event is about to catapult the Darling family into the middle of a massive financial investigation and a red-hot scandal. Suddenly, Paul must decide where his loyalties really lie.
Debut novelist Cristina Alger is a former analyst at Goldman Sachs, an attorney, and the daughter of a Wall Street financier. Drawing on her unique insider's perspective, Alger gives us an irresistible glimpse into the highest echelons of New York society—and a fast-paced thriller of epic proportions that powerfully echoes Claire Messud's The Emperor's Children and reads like a fictional Too Big to Fail.
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