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The Darlings

3.36  ·  Rating Details ·  3,520 Ratings  ·  523 Reviews

A sophisticated page-turner about a wealthy New York family embroiled in a financial scandal with cataclysmic consequences.

Now that he's married to Merrill Darling, daughter of billionaire financier Carter Darling, attorney Paul Ross has grown accustomed to New York society and all of its luxuries: a Park Avenue apartment, weekends in the Hamptons, bespoke suits. Whe

Hardcover, 352 pages
Published February 16th 2012 by Pamela Dorman Books
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Suzanne Leopold
Feb 26, 2017 Suzanne Leopold rated it really liked it
Carter Darling is CEO of the prestigious financial firm, Delphic. His close knit family has benefited from his success and his enormous wealth has provided them with a life filled with luxuries. He has two daughters whose husbands are both employed by the business.

Paul Ross works as general counsel for Delphic, and is married to Carter’s daughter, Merrill. His father in law hired him while Wall Street was suffering from the economic crisis of 2008. A few months into his employment, the SEC cont
B the BookAddict
Mar 27, 2014 B the BookAddict rated it really liked it
Recommended to B the BookAddict by: Diane
Shelves: fiction

The Darlings is the story about a Thanksgiving weekend of the Darling family, uber wealthy and beautiful, who live in that rare ether of New York’s elite. Carter Darling heads a large financial institution and son-in-law Paul is his General Counsel. In his short story, The Rich Boy, F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote: “Let me tell you about the very rich. They are different from you and me.” While The Darlings might travel in rarefied circles normally, their reactions are suitably base when news comes of
Nov 18, 2011 Jill rated it really liked it
At a time when the attention of the country is on the Occupy Wall Street Movement and the 99%, Christina Alger’s book centers on that elusive 1% -- the truly wealthy. And she does it so well.

It was no surprise for me to read that she had worked as an analyst at Goldman, Sachs & Co. and as an attorney at Wilmer, Cutler, Pickering, Hale & Dorr. Only a true insider could have written a book as authentic as this one. It’s page gripping and authentic, thrilling and gasp-inducing. In short, it
Apr 24, 2012 Amanda rated it really liked it
This is one of my top books of 2012. It was a quick read, but still felt deep enough. It was refreshing (against the other books I've read lately), well-laid out, and well written. The story was obviously very close to the times (a bunch of rich folks, a ponzi scheme) so it felt almost like seeing in to what is going on with many families now. I was quite drawn in to the family (especially the marriage of Merrill and Paul) and while I don't understand why the "bad guys" did the things they did, ...more
Jun 27, 2012 Ciara rated it it was ok
Shelves: read-in-2012
have you been looking for a novel set in the financial crisis, centering around a bernie madoff-style ponzi scheme & the manner in which its fall-out impacts a wealthy new york family? & have you been hoping that the book would be about 97% exposition & 3% story, & that what little story there is would be pretty much comically improbable? look no further! the darlings is the book for you!

ugh. this book reads like the author filled an entire five-subject notebook with character no
Apr 14, 2012 Abby rated it liked it
Cristina Alger is a talented author who knows how to craft a taut thriller. She takes a cliched, prosaic plot (the well-known Bernie Madoff scandal) and adds her own twists. I could easily see this novel as a movie. Alger is also an acute social observer of different NYC archetypes and uses minute details to situate every character in his/her proper milieu. As a business school graduate, I was also glad to see that the financial (and legal) details are for the most part accurate.

I do have some r
Feb 01, 2013 Jessica rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
I hesitated on reading this one for a long time, because it's gotten pretty mixed reviews here on Goodreads. A lot of the negative feedback seems to center on the fact that Cristina Alger might be trying to ask her readers to sympathize with characters who are primarily one-percenters.

That's a tricky area. Fox News would have you believe that the Occupy Wall Street movement was all about people who resent the wealthy and feel like they are undeserving. They like to cast the uberwealthy as noble
Bennett Gavrish
Oct 02, 2012 Bennett Gavrish rated it it was ok
Grade: D+

L/C Ratio: 40/60
(This means I estimate the author devoted 40% of her effort to creating a literary work of art and 60% of her effort to creating a commercial bestseller.)

Thematic Breakdown:
40% - Wall Street corruption
30% - Family crisis
10% - New York high society
10% - Legal dealings
10% - Journalism

Perhaps Alger was setting herself up to fail when she decided to write a literary novel from the perspective of the Wall Street elite during the Great Recession. But what makes the characters
Jul 08, 2012 Cheryl rated it did not like it
I gave up on this one. I didn't finish it and I feel bad giving it one star because Ms. Alger made a painstaking effort not to end a sentence in a preposition. However, you would think that a book titled "the Darlings" would be primarily about someone with the last name Darling. There are so many friggin' characters in the book that one of them can't be develpoed enough for you to really cheer for one. I shouldn't say that. I really liked Cater Darling's attorney's secratary's son. He was mentio ...more
A few things.

1. The author seems to be trying to link 9/11 and the financial meltdown of 2008. Not cause-and-effect style, but spiritually, in a way. I didn't quite buy it, but it lent a little extra flavor to the story.

2. I am tired of stories about rich people in New York that do no more than describe the lives of rich people in New York. These novels pretend to cast a critical eye on all the wealth and luxury, but all they're really doing is chronicling the lifestyle, and the plot sometimes
Jan 11, 2013 Elsa rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: testeur-amazon
Alors que Thanksgiving va débuter, les turpitudes du monde de la finance frappe de plein fouet une famille travaillant dans la haute finance. Ce roman se concentre sur l'étude d'un microcosme, celui de la haute finance new-yorkaise, un petit entre-soi, qui s'effrite et se fendille, avec la crise financière. Cependant, tout cela reste assez lisse et poli, on a du mal à ressentir quelque chose pour les personnages qui sont insipides, et mettent vraiment du temps à entrer en scène. Une certaine étu ...more
Christina (A Reader of Fictions)
Normally, I probably would not have picked this up, despite the lovely cover. When offered a review copy from Penguin, I figured why not, since I can be a bit narrow in my reading tastes these days (YA, YA, YA). Yet again, I am glad I did. The Darlings was a good read, even for one such as myself, who does not follow anything about the economy (more than my own bank account anyway).

The entirety of the story, with the exception of the epilogue, takes place within just one week. I love that Alger
Mar 03, 2012 Felice rated it did not like it
March came in as a snow day and my snow day read, The Darlings by Cristina Alger, came in as a bore. In this debut novel, a financial thriller, Alger was unable to convince me why I should care about stereotypical, self centered, extremely rich characters who might lose all their money and their family owned investment company in a Madoff-esque event.

The only real interest—and it was mild-- I had in The Darlings was wondering if Alger had meant to reference Peter Pan by naming her family the Da
Ashley Griffith
Jun 15, 2017 Ashley Griffith rated it it was ok
Meh. I only read this because I was hungry for a glimpse into the lives of New York's elite; to be honest, I think what I really wanted was Gossip Girl.

Two stars because I liked the amount of detail that went into the characters' relationships and backstories. That being said, there were WAY too many characters and they were all exactly the same, there was way too much information, and I found the whole scandal/crime to be highly implausible. It was just way too unrealistic.

I also didn't like ho
Jul 04, 2012 Kate rated it really liked it
I was totally wooed by the cover of The Darlings - refined, cool New York at its very best.

The Darlings is described as a ‘sophisticated page-turner’ – a new genre perhaps? It could also be described as a financial thriller, although that doesn’t do much to sell the book, does it?! It’s much more glamorous than that.

From the first page, which is the scene of a suicide attempt from an unknown character, The Darlings reels you in. It’s fast-paced and each chapter title is a date and time over the
Zen Nana
Jan 10, 2012 Zen Nana rated it really liked it
The Darlings of New York -- a family of top-tier wealth and privilege -- prepare for their annual Thanksgiving gathering in the Hamptons. But this year, the holiday arrives under a cloud of dark discoveries involving a Ponzi scheme within their offices and it’s perpetrator’s suicide. This novel unfolds over the days that follow, revealing an intricate lacework of loyalties and maneuvers, both legal and illegal. The secrets and lies that the 99% believes always exist just a scratch away from the ...more
Katie Bueltel
Jan 08, 2015 Katie Bueltel rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: No one
Recommended to Katie by: My English Teacher

Christina Alger’s debut novel has many readers intrigued. Bouncing between the perspectives of three main groups, The Darlings incorporates every opinion on the Wall Street Scandal. Taking place over Thanksgiving, the novel focuses around a family, the Darlings, and their friends, a magazine office, and the agency investigating the Ponzi scheme. After the suicide of Morty Reis, his company is thrown into the limelight as investigations discover his buisness’ illegitimacy.
Mary Loesch
Dec 09, 2012 Mary Loesch rated it really liked it
***I recieved a paperback copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.***

I wasn't sure whether or not I would enjoy The Darlings by Cristina Alger, but when the publisher sent me the paperback version and I started reading, I was hooked! For the most part, it's a fast paced tale ripped right from the headlines and seems to mirror the Bernie Maddoff scandal. Here's the blurb I received on it:

The Darlings is one of the first novels set during the fall of 2008, when New Yo
Shedrick Pittman-Hassett
From my blog:

In The Darlings, former financial analyst Cristina Alger explores the strength of family loyalty within the context of high society and high finance and lightly touches upon the motivations of those that turn a blind eye to the excesses of Wall Street.

The Darlings are the toast of Manhattan high society. Carter Darling, the patriarch of the clan, leads one of the most successful firms on Wall Street. His daughters, Lily and Merrill, are both beautiful a
Apr 15, 2013 Erin rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Cristina Alger's debut The Darlings offers up an unquestionably intriguing idea, but for me, the execution left something to be desired. In fact my entire experience with this title can be summed up in a single word: ugh.

Make no mistake, Alger knows her material inside and out and deserves a lot of credit for manipulating her understanding of the economic crisis and legal knowledge into a work of fiction. Her obvious love for Manhattan and the lifestyle that city affords those privileged enough
Cynthia Neale
Jan 08, 2013 Cynthia Neale rated it liked it
Do you want to feel smug, gleeful, and righteous anger about the arrogant, entitled, greedy snobs involved in the world-changing financial crisis of 2008 getting their comeuppance? You can get a front row seat and climb into the hearts, offices, and beds of the fictional characters in Alger's debut novel about the Darling family and the Wall Street scandal. She takes you there fast and flashy, reminding the reader that blue-blooded privilege, Ivy League schools, and who you know can take you to ...more
May 21, 2012 Diane rated it really liked it
I read this novel expecting it to be a take on the Bernie Madoff Ponzi scheme. To a certain extent it was, being about a family whose work and family lives were entangled in a financial scandal. Carter Darling employed both of his sons-in-laws, one of whom was just along for the ride and one, Paul, who just came aboard after losing his job as an attorney at the beginning of the recession.

Not many of the wealthy characters are very likable in this book, except for Paul and Merrill. Although Carte
Dec 29, 2011 Leah rated it it was amazing
The first time I read this book, it was still a manuscript. Now that I have the finished product, it's getting the bump to five stars.

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
Linda C
Aug 20, 2012 Linda C rated it liked it
Shelves: read-2012
Loose adaption of the Bernie Madoff debacle. Good story, very fast read, but ultimately somewhat blah. Author does a great job at creating the scene of New York/Wall Street/Hampton excess, but the characters were all a bit flat. More cliches, than people.

Also, the author is presented as being a Wall Street insider, but she made some errors that annoyed me. Not that it detracts from the story, and 99% of the readers won't even notice, but since she is supposed to be an insider, these were little
Lee-Ann Sleegers
Jan 26, 2012 Lee-Ann Sleegers rated it really liked it
The Darlings by Cristina Alger from Penguin Books 2012

This review almost wrote itself and didn't feel like I was forcing it. I received an ARC of The Darlings from Penguin Canada and have been looking for an opportunity to read it for the last little while.

When you hear a title like The Darlings and see the cover of this novel you expect it to be set during the late 19th and early 20th century during the Gilded age in the United States. I was pleasantly surprised that this was not the case. The
Aug 13, 2015 Julie rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition

Pas des plus palpitants, il se laisse lire mais le début est très long, beaucoup de personnages donc on ne sait plus qui est qui et qui est en relation avec qui meme si ils ont tout un lien. Beaucoup de fautes de typo... Pas top... Ils auraient pu le relire avant de l'imprimer... Et puis le dénouement est rapidement bouclé, bâclé, on ne sait pas ce qui se passe pour certains personnages. L'affaire en elle même n'est couverte que sur 1/4 du livre (et je sui
Feb 21, 2012 Ashley rated it really liked it
Shelves: nyc, first-reads
I received an Advanced Uncorrected Proof version of this book from

This isn't the normal type of novel that I am drawn to. It's a straight-forward story. Little symbolism, no greater take-away meaning, and characters who are completely beyond my own social circle. Nevertheless, from the first page I couldn't put the book down. Most of the characters are surprisingly likable. The author does a great job of explaining the financial realm to non-NYC finance readers, such as myself.

Jan 05, 2014 Aga rated it did not like it
Boring, predictable, and shallow. The author may know all about the hedge funds but when she decided to make one of the characters a fan of cooking educated in a culinary institute she should have done her research about baking a turkey. I didn't like how almost all the characters used the same words and thought in a similar way. Merill seems totally unrealistic with her blindness and just surfing on the surface of life, Paul is too naive for a New York investment lawyer. Marina serves a
Dec 03, 2012 Rozemarijn rated it it was ok
Shelves: new-york
It wasn't bad but it wasn't good.
It wasn't boring but it wasn't exiting.
It wasn't that clever but it wasn't that stupid.

Mostly the book consisted of this:
- Every 7 pages a totally unknown and mostly uninteresting person would 'tell' the story (focalise, as I came to know :)). It could be either a millionaire or an assistent. So much for building a bridge between the upper and low classes...
- So. Much. Brand. Dropping. Honestly, do you think I care how your stupid non important financial business
Elizabeth B
Feb 15, 2012 Elizabeth B rated it really liked it
Let me start by saying I’m not big on mainstream fiction and definitely not a fan of financial novels. So, imagine my surprise when I became totally engrossed in this book and devoured it in one setting. The writing isn’t that of an everyday thriller type novel but instead is just eloquent enough to reach beyond average to make you feel like you are stepping into a book written in the past. The descriptions are perfectly balanced so that you get a wonderful picture of the story in your head but ...more
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