Book review: The Darlings by Cristina Alger

This book answers an interesting question: what happens when you find out that one-third of the business that your hedge fund deals with has been under the control of a ponzi schemer like Bernie Madoff? While it’s hard to imagine what I would do in that situation, it’s another to read about how the family that owns the hedge fund dealt with the crisis. (Spoiler: there are a few underhanded dealings and some subterfuge involved.)

The Darlings by Cristina Alger is written from several points of view: primarily that of Merrill formerly-Darling, whose father owns Delphic Capital, the hedge fund in question; her husband Paul, who works as a lawyer for Delphic; and her father, Carter, who owns the fund. There a number of smaller players involved, like Merrill’s sister Lily and her husband, Adrian; Duncan who is the editor in chief of Press Magazine; and Alexa and David, both of whom work for the SEC. That only touches on a few of the many characters that weave and dance their way through this intricately written book. In fact, there are so many characters that I had to make up a flow chart to keep track of them all! Thankfully, by the end of the book, everything pulls together nicely and the relationships between all of the characters become clear.

The book starts out with the suicide of Morty Reiss, owner of RCM. Once its made clear that RCM was really a ponzi scheme, and that Delphic Capital was about to go down in flames and SEC fines for dealing with them, the plot really took off. The entire book takes place over a Thanksgiving weekend, with Morty jumping off a bridge the day before the holiday, and the main SEC negotiations taking place the following Monday. What started out to be family drama ended up as a thriller, with so many twists and turns I couldn’t wait to see who wound up on top. I won’t spoil the ending for you; I’ll just say that you’ll be surprised.

If you want to buy a copy of this awesome book (which I recommend doing) it’s available now through booksellers everywhere, including Amazon.com.

(Disclaimer: a copy of this book was provided to me by the publisher. This review is completely unbiased – I really did love the book! For further details, please check out my disclosure policy.)

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