An “absorbing and memorable novel” (Tom Perrotta, author of Little Children) set in the world of corporate intrigue, about a woman who must choose between her dream job and everything else—her savings, her reputation, and an unexpected chance at love.
From award-winning author Frederick Dillen, an inspiring and deeply moving novel about the power of second chances
As a corporate “undertaker” for a mergers and acquisitions firm in New York, Carol MacLean travels from factory to factory, firing blue-collar workers who remind her of her father and the kids she grew up with. She hates her job. But Carol has been biding her time: her boss has promised that one day, after she has paid her dues, Carol will get to run a company instead of having to bury it.
On what is supposed to be her last assignment, Carol travels up the coast of Massachusetts to a desperate fishing town where the late lobster and day boats cluster around the inner harbor, the blue steeples of the Portuguese church stand tall on the horizon, and the last remaining fish processing plant is in its death throes. That’s when she learns that she’s about to be fired.
To save the town and herself, Carol becomes determined to rescue the factory she’s under orders to shut down. With the help of the townspeople and a roughly charming local fisherman, and by the force of her own resolve, Carol throws herself into transforming the company—but is soon faced with increasingly difficult decisions. Must she choose between the job she has always wanted and everything else?
Beauty explores the ways in which one woman will risk everything—her savings, her reputation, and even a chance at love—in pursuit of her dream.
Dillen's somewhat subdued third novel (after Fool) centers on a company liquidator who goes the extra mile in attempting to rescue a harbor town factory from bankruptcy. At the age of 56, Carol "The Beast" MacLean aspires to run her own company, and her boss at the N.Y.C. offices of Baxter Blume has promised to help her. All she has to do is perform one more "corporate burial" shuttering Elizabeth Seafood Products, based on Elizabeth Island, off the coast of Massachusetts, and selling its assets. Soon after arriving on the island, however, Carol discovers she will be laid off when she returns home. Her own blue-collar roots have long made her feel uneasy about her job, and she decides to acquire the ailing company and manage the factory's all-female workforce herself. She finds loyal allies in laidback HR chief Dave Parks, long-time finance officer Annette Novato, and local fisherman Ezekiel "Easy" Parsons, to whom Carol is unexpectedly attracted. It emerges that Elizabeth Foods' former owners were robbing it blind, and that pending government sanctions threaten to curb the fish catch on which the factory depends. Dillen creates an intriguing premise but doesn't make the most of its potential for suspense, preferring instead to offer a feel-good story with a dash of romance.