The Darlings by Cristina Alger (pub date 2/16/12)
Inspired by the not-too-long-ago Bernie Madoff scandal, and in light of the seemingly endless financial recession still going on, here is a novel by a new author that takes us inside the privileged lives of the Manhattan elite.
The Darlings is about a fictional Manhattan family and what happens when their world comes crashing down. Carter Darling is a billionaire financier and the embodiment of the term ‘WASP.’ With a beautiful wife, two perfect daughters, and endless connections, he does indeed lead a charmed life. He has just hired his son-in-law Paul as the head of his hedge fund’s legal team, a position Paul is happy to accept.
But things begin to quickly unravel for the Darling family the day before Thanksgiving. A tragic event shocks the financial world, and invites unwanted media attention on Carter’s financial dealings. With an investigation by the Securities Exchange Commission looming overhead, the family members become suspicious of one another, and betrayal and heartache are quick to follow.
This was a very interesting book to read, with a storyline quite relevant to the time. Cristina Alger has a law degree and has actually worked as an analyst at Goldman, Sachs & Co., making her the ideal person to write a story like this. But in addition to having the necessary knowledge and experience to make this story come to life, she is also a great writer. Her characters are living, breathing people with needs, fears, insecurities, joys, and aspirations. Alger’s writing takes us to the forefront of a lifestyle filled with prestigious schools, charity balls, summers in the Hamptons, trips to Nantucket, and Park Avenue apartments. But it’s a cut-throat lifestyle too, a world in which not everyone survives:
“Manhattan was a Darwinian environment: only the strongest survived. The weak, the nice, the naïve, the ones who smiled at passersby on the sidewalk, they all got weeded out. They would give up. They would opt out.
The ones who stayed long enough to raise children were the tough ones, the tenacious ones, the goal-oriented ones, the gold-digging ones, the deal-closing ones, the ‘kill or be killed’ ones, the ‘whatever it takes’ ones. They looked out for themselves and slept with one eye open.”
With a tight story and a surprising ending, The Darlings is an enjoyable novel by a new author to watch. Regardless of whether you know anything about law or finance, this is a book that many different audiences can enjoy.