Coming off of The Nest I still had a hankering for another story where the lives of New York socialites went into upheaval amidst a financial scandal. I was actually surprised to discover how similar The Darlings was to The Nest – even having an almost identical ending. Basically The Darlings was a fictional account of the Bernie Madoff scandal. Since we all know what happened with the Madoff scam, I thought this novel would focus more on the family behind the scandal, and it did.
It took early 90 pages for the fraud to be uncovered, which set this book off to a slooooow start. While I was interested in the ponzi scheme, I was more eager to learn about the people in the families of the mighty men who toppled once the fraud was discovered. The author portrayed New York society and the financial sector very well. I felt like I was reading a nonfiction book about New York and its inhabitants, but the essence of the characters didn’t come through as easily.
Carter Darling was the antagonist at the heart of the novel, but for much of the story I liked him! I understood his need to protect himself and his family. In contrast I did not understand the actions assigned to him at the end which made him a cold and calculating maniac. I wanted to feel more empathy for Carter’s wife and daughters, but I didn’t mainly because I never felt that I got to know them well enough to care. The chapters assigned to Carter’s family felt rushed and didn’t really give them enough personality of in depth background to show me how they would be impacted by the scandal.
Overall, this was an entertaining book, but not quite as good as The Nest.