I received this book for free from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
This post contains affiliate links you can use to purchase the book. If you buy the book using that link, I will receive a small commission from the sale.Opening Belle by Maureen Sherry
Published by Simon & Schuster on February 2, 2016
Genres: Domestic Life, Family Life, Women's Fiction
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In 2008, Isabelle—a self-made, thirty-something Wall Street star—appears to have it all: an Upper West Side apartment, three healthy children, a handsome husband, and a high-powered job. But her reality is something else. Her trading desk work environment resembles a 1980s frat party, her husband feels employment is beneath him, and the bulk of childcare and homecare still falls in Belle’s already full lap.
Enter Henry, the former college fiancé she never quite got over; now a hedge fund mogul. He becomes her largest client, and Belle gets to see the life she might have had with him. While Henry campaigns to win Belle back, the sexually harassed women in her office take action to improve their working conditions, and recruit a wary Belle into a secret “glass ceiling club” whose goal is to mellow the cowboy banking culture and get equal pay for their work. All along, Belle can sense the financial markets heading toward their soon-to-be historic crash and that something has to give—and when it does, everything is going to change: her marriage, her career, her world, and her need to keep her colleagues’ hands to themselves.
Opening Belle had some amazing things going for it. Financial intrigue, crazy trading room floor inappropriateness, women trying to break past the glass ceiling. And then it had some downfalls. Our heroine, Belle, is ridiculously money hungry. Well, that really is the downfall. She sacrificed family time, knowing her children and her marriage to have more. Even when she made three million dollars on a deal it was not enough to make her quit the 15 hour days. Her husband was a money hungry rich kid who spent money like it was water and acted like it was his due. The tale of a trader in the heady days of pre-mortgage bust, Belle is a rare woman trader, a genius at figuring out where a company will go, but horrible at figuring out how to make her marriage work and her kids happy. When her ex-fiancé Henry reenters the picture Belle’s already confused world is turned even more upside down.
Maureen Sherry’s world was vivid. I could hear the shouting on the trading floor, see the men treating the women like pieces of meat and picture the lavish mansions of the upper echelon. The pacing was spot-on, the story never lagged and the action was continuous. The plot was strong and the real world it echoed rang true. The characters were where the story lacked. Superficial and greedy, they almost universally came across as kindof horrible people. The emotions were high and I did feel them, but they were tempered by the wonton money lust.
Opening Belle by Maureen Sherry is in options to become movie with Reece Witherspoon behind it. I can actually see this being a very successful film as the money issues can drive a movie well (see Wolf of Wall Street). For a book it just turned me off. Family to me means everything and while I enjoy my job and the lifestyle it has afforded me, I still place family time as a priority. I could easily go work a corporate job and make an astonishing salary, but the fact that I can spend time with my husband and kids takes precedence. I think that may be why I was just not clicking with the characters, as their drive is so foreign to me. No matter what they made, it was never enough, and sometimes you have to stop and realize what is important.
Favorite lines – Everyone has someone they will never get over, where closure is not a possibility. Closure is made-up psychobabble. It’s not real. You just have to stay away from that person, because no amount of talking will ever resolve a thing. It’s not possible to actually work with that person and Henry was my person.
Biggest cliché – “As long as I ignore it, it will go away.”
Have you read Opening Belle, or added it to your TBR?
Reading this book contributed to these challenges:
- 2016 New Release Challenge
- Mount TBR Reading Challenge
- Netgalley & Edelweiss Reading Challenge
- The Goodreads Challenge