I finished Opening Belle by Maureen Sherry last night, which just came out earlier this month. It is already being adapted into a movie and tells the story of Belle, a working mother at an investment bank on Wall Street before the bubble bursts. She is married to Bruce, an attractive but unambitious man who has essentially become a house husband.
Belle has a tough professional career and must deal with the old boys’ club mentality of the investment bank. I couldn’t believe some of the actions that are described in the book, including numerous occurrences of sexual harassment. Belle and a group of women form their own club in an attempt to create change in the atmosphere, but they really don’t get anywhere.
The storyline that was most intriguing involved the reappearance of Belle’s ex-fiance, Henry, as a client with whom she is forced to interact. I really was interested in knowing how she would deal with him. Ultimately though, the book jumps ahead in its timeline toward the end and the author explains everything that has happened, instead of letting the reader experience it with Belle. I would have preferred a different way of wrapping up the story. I was also disappointed that she appeared on the brink of – SPOILER ALERT – reconciling with her cheating husband, who had treated her so poorly throughout the story. I couldn’t really find a redeeming quality about him, so it was tough for me to root for their relationship.
I enjoyed the book and the perspective it gave on being a woman in a high powered financial position.