Title: Opening Belle
Author: Maureen Sherry
Getting rich on Wall Street would be a lot more fun if the men would keep their hands off her assets. A whip-smart and funny novel told by a former Wall Street insider who reveals what it’s like for a working woman to balance love, ambition, and family in a world of glamorous excess, outrageous risk-taking, and jaw-dropping sexism.
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.
From Maureen Sherry, a prize winning writer, a former Managing Director on Wall Street (who never signed a nondisclosure agreement when she left), Opening Belle takes readers into the adrenaline-fueled chaos of a Wall Street trading desk, the lavish parties, the lunch-time rendezvous, and ultimately into the heart of a woman who finds it easier to cook up millions at work than dinner at home.
I found this book by accident, literally. FIP needed to turn on her Kindle to let it update software or all her books would be lost. While I was trying to get my not been touched in a year Kindle booted and updated I accidently clicked the One Click buy button on Opening Belle. Sometimes, it’s more work trying to get back my $11.99 then to just read the darn book.
The cover did nothing for me. The story line wasn’t super interesting either. I work on Wall Street and all these book come off as predetermined to fit into a certain mold. Hardly ever do I find that I can relate to these heroines or that I can learn anything from them. So I went into this book already not liking it. But OMG was FIP in for a surprise!
Isabelle is relatable! Her hurdles are real! And she overcomes them. I don’t know that we’ll all end up how she did, but most of us have imagined a similar ending to our stories (a peaceful one). In between the woe is woman struggles, Maureen Sherry takes the time to education her readers on the going downs of Wall Street. I LOVED THIS!! She didn’t skirt around the dirty and talk about pretty things – she gave us a crash course on CMO’s!!! Loved loved loved this!!
The author’s writing is crisp and clean. The characters are real for the most part, sometimes Isabelle herself seems a little put on a pedestal – the one white knight in a world of unfaithfulness but I can forgive her that. I secretly feel like allot of Isabelle was based off of the author’s own real person. Maureen Sherry was the youngest Managing Director at Bear Sterns before the most recent crash.
The book was also recommended by Reese Witherspoon, who is said to be staring as Isabella in a movie based on Opening Belle.
Overall, the book felt like a smarter version of one of Sophie Kinsella’s stories. A quick witty read! Definitely gets a two thumbs up from FIP.
Happy reading. Coming up shortly, the paired recipe for Opening Belle, a decadent Creme Brulee.