I love me a good play on words, and the title here really fits the bill. Set in 2008 just prior to the housing and credit bubble bursting, Isabelle – Belle to everyone – is a young woman living the dream. She’s a top trader at a small, prestigious brokerage house, married with three children, living on the upper West Side of New York City. Her kids are in the best private school money can buy, and her husband is a stay at home dad.
Belle works a lot of hours and there is some resentment that her husband doesn’t work and doesn’t take care of things the way she would like, but for the most part she seems happy, at least when she has a minute to think about it, which is pretty much never. Then Henry pops back into her life.
Henry is her former fiancé, who unceremoniously dumped her when she caught him cheating. He is now working for her biggest customer, and their day to day contact has him working overtime to get her back, but on his terms.
Belle’s work place is like a frat party on steroids. It would be hard to believe that in the 21st century women are still objectified in a work environment, but I know a woman in a similar situation – maybe not so much grabbing going on, but a definite boys club, with no girls allowed.
As the market heads towards its inexecrable crash, so does Belle’s world – her marriage, her job, everything she has been juggling for so long. But she is a not a professional for nothing, and her strong backbone stands her in good stead.
Interesting characters and a compelling situation make this a terrific read, with enough humor to lighten the load. I enjoyed this fast paced story immensely.
2/16 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™
OPENING BELLE by Maureen Sherry. Simon & Schuster (February 2, 2016). ISBN 978-1501110627. 352p.