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The Darlings

3.36  ·  Rating Details  ·  3,295 Ratings  ·  496 Reviews
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
Paperback, 352 pages
Published December 24th 2012 by Penguin Books (first published February 16th 2012)
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B the BookAddict
Apr 23, 2016 B the BookAddict rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
May 08, 2012 Amanda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Jun 27, 2012 Ciara rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Feb 07, 2013 Jessica rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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 20, 2012 Cheryl rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
Nov 21, 2011 Jill rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Mar 03, 2012 Felice rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Jan 26, 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
Jul 07, 2012 Kate rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 20, 2012 Zen Nana rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 11, 2015 Katie Bueltel rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Apr 02, 2016 Erin rated it it was ok
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
Mary Loesch
Dec 09, 2012 Mary Loesch rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
***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
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
Lee-Ann Sleegers
Jan 26, 2012 Lee-Ann Sleegers rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Cynthia Neale
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  ·  review of another edition
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
Mar 04, 2012 Ashley rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.

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
Jul 11, 2015 Rozemarijn rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Linda C
Jan 18, 2016 Linda C rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jan 17, 2014 Aga rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
Elizabeth B
Feb 15, 2012 Elizabeth B rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jan 20, 2013 Lennis rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I couldn't put this financial thriller down. Some plot points were predictable, but I really enjoyed how Alger delved into the personal and family ramifications of the types of crimes committed during the financial crisis. It was interesting how one character complained that he was being treated "like a common criminal" when a common criminal steals from one or a few people, and a Ponzi scheme orchestrator steals from hundreds or thousands. The look into the inner world of the NYC financial elit ...more
Jun 11, 2014 Laura rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This isn't quality literature by any stretch, but I needed a beach read and this was perfect. Think John Grisham (in the day when his novels were still fresh and had a good plot) meets New York City high society and Wall Street.
Apr 19, 2012 Kathy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was Cristina Alger's debut novel and I really enjoy authors who write from experience. Cristina was born and raised in NYC, went to Harvard and NYU School of Law. She worked at Goldman Sachs. Who better then to write a novel about the financial crisis and its effect on families...also known as the 1%. The entire novel occurs in less than one week and takes place in New York and the Hamptons. The main characters are the wealthy Darling family and their world is turned upside down and inside ...more
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