Mary Kersey has burst through the glass ceiling. She has a high-profile City job giving strategic advice to banks. She's the family breadwinner, a loving wife and a caring mother to her daughter Gracie, and she struggles to find the right balance between her work and her home life.
Her two worlds collide when the Treasury asks Mary to take on a secret role investigating dirty dealings surrounding ever-more-powerful hedge funds. She knows that the company her firm is working with was acquired after manipulation of the share price plus a good deal of help from a dodgy hedge fund. She finds herself torn every which way as husband, daughter, boss, her own conscience - all clamour for her attention.
When matters take a dark turn, Mary discovers just how vulnerable she is. Standing between men and their money is a very dangerous place to be...
Patten's solid debut, a financial thriller, introduces Mary Kersey, who as a partner at a City of London bank works "ridiculously long hours" and is known as something of "a pious prig," while her scholar husband, Guy, earns a tenth as much as a Cambridge college fellow. Grace, their pony-loving 11-year-old daughter, attends a posh Catholic boarding school. In 2005, their peaceful lives turn upside down after Mary agrees to help the treasury ministry investigate suspicious hedge fund dealings in particular, a biotech company's takeover of another biotech company. When Grace is rushed to the hospital after falling off her pony, Mary finds a note in the girl's jodhpur pockets that warns "keep away from hedgies." Some readers might wish for more action and less detail about the financial industry, but Patten, a former banker and management consultant, does a good job of dramatizing the conflict between job and home.