A captivating debut about wealth, envy, and secrets: the story of five women whose lives are dramatically changed by the downfall of a financial titan.
On September 15, 2008, the world of Greenwich, Connecticut, is shaken. When the investment bank Weiss & Partners is shuttered, CEO Bob D’Amico must fend off allegations of malfeasance, as well as the judgment and resentment of his community. As panic builds, five women in his life must scramble to negotiate power on their own terms and ask themselves what —if anything—is worth saving.
In the aftermath of this collapse, Bob D’Amico’s teenage daughter Madison begins to probe her father’s heretofore secret world for information. Four other women in Madison’s life —her mother Isabel, her best friend Amanda, her nanny Lily, and family friend Mina —begin to question their own shifting roles in their insular, moneyed world.
For the adults, this means learning how to protect their own in a community that has turned against them. For the younger generation, it means heightened rebellion and heartache during the already volatile teenage years. And for Lily, it means deciding where her loyalties lie when it comes to the family in which she is both an essential member and, ultimately, an outsider. All these women have witnessed more than they’ve disclosed, all harbor secret insecurities and fears, and all must ask themselves—where is the line between willful ignorance and unspoken complicity?
With astonishing precision, insight, and grace, Angelica Baker weaves a timeless social novel about the rituals of intimacy and community; of privilege and information; of family and risk; of etiquette and taboo.
Baker's ambitious debut focuses on 15-year-old Madison D'Amico and her family during the "shell-shocked" year her father's investment bank plummets from financial giant to bankruptcy amid rumors of criminal wrongdoing. When his business starts to implode, Brooklyn-born CEO Bob "Silverback" D'Amico relocates to his luxury Manhattan apartment, while back in Greenwich, Conn., his wife, Isabel previously envied for her elegant taste and old money tries to remain aloof from a rising tide of gossip and hostility. Isabel's friend Mina offers comfort with Xanax, and then finds herself among the gossips. Meanwhile, at Greenwich Prep, Bob and Isabel's daughter, Madison, chooses the company of boyfriend Chip and trouble-seeking Zoe over former BFF Amanda, whose father persists in writing newspaper columns excoriating Madison's. Alert and sympathetic to Madison's precarious situation, the D'Amicos' nanny, Lily, tries to help her charge, but discovers loyalty has its challenges as well as limits. Baker switches perspective among five women (Isabel, Lily, Mina, Madison, Amanda) to create a collage of Greenwich parents, children, and the people paid to manage the parents' houses and care for their kids. For the Greenwich contingent, there are outsiders and insiders, official and unofficial stories, all teeming with betrayals large and small, accidental and intentional. Baker examines different facets of these betrayals from multiple points of view. As the teenager puzzles out her father's actions and her mother's silences, a personal, thought-provoking portrait emerges of the American Dream, complete with a web of visible and invisible cracks in the foundation.