Monday, February 27, 2012

Review: "Bond Girl" by Erin Duffy

I wasn't quite sure what to expect when I picked up my copy of Bond Girl by Erin Duffy. I had flashbacks to a novel that I had read about a year before with a similar premise (woman works in finance, must find a way to survive in a predominantly male work environment) and had, quite frankly, hated. I am not mathematically inclined in any way, shape, or form. Numbers overwhelm me, and finance is not my "thing". I was worried that the book would be filled with explanations that would go way over my head. However, Erin Duffy's clever and interesting debut novel quickly proved me wrong.

Alex Garrett has wanted to work on Wall Street her as long as she could remember. While other girls dreamed of being ballerinas or veterinarians, Alex was determined to become a part of the world of high finance. Her dad was a banker on Wall Street and she always enjoyed going with him to work when he had a slow day. When she gets a job at Cromwell Pierce, one of Wall Street's most esteemed brokerage firms, she is expecting that it will take a while for the men to get used to her. She is expecting to dodge the odd sexist joke or wayward football but she is not expecting to be made to sit in a metal folding chair with the name "Girlie" scrawled across the back for six months, having to pick up pizzas for one hundred people while wearing high heels or having to pay over $1000 for a 50 pound wheel of Parmesan cheese for her boss.

Despite the many setbacks that Alex encounters at Cromwell Pierce, she is determined not to quit. She perseveres, gets to know her boss better as well as the guys that she works with, and suddenly her co-workers refer to her by her given name instead of her nickname, and she has her own desk. When the financial world begins to fall apart and when Alex comes up against a foe that she's not sure that she will be able to defeat on her own, Alex must decide if staying at Cromwell Pierce is worth it anymore or if she should retire her designer shoes for a different sort of life.

I found myself immersed in Bond Girl very quickly. Duffy writes about finance with a light touch. She doesn't dumb it down to the point where the reader feels patronized, but she doesn't throw out terms so complicated that our eyes glaze over. I found myself interested in the way that "the business" works and the insider's look at the trading floor was interesting.

Duffy certainly includes enough about Alex's personal life to interest those of us who enjoy women's fiction. There is a love interest complete with complications as well as a glimpse into the personal relationships that Alex is able to form with her co-workers. Bond Girl is a fast-paced and interesting look at the world of high finance and at one woman who dares to immerse herself in that predominantly male environment. I found myself anxious to find out what was going to happen with Alex next. Especially interesting is the fact that Duffy herself worked in the world of high finance for ten years, so the experiences that Alex had likely mirrored some of Duffy's own.

My thanks to the publisher for providing me with a review copy of this book.

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