The wife of a notorious Ponzi schemer (think Ruth Madoff, but 20 years younger) hides out from aggrieved investors on Hilderbrand’s home turf, Nantucket.
Meredith Delinn is rescued from her Park Avenue penthouse in the middle of the night after a frantic phone call to her estranged childhood friend Connie. Her husband, Freddy Delinn, has been sentenced to 150 years in a federal penitentiary, and marshals are coming to seize the penthouse and everything in it. Connie, who, with her late husband, famed architect Wolf, had withdrawn their money from Delinn’s fund just in time (whence the estrangement), spirits Meredith off to her Nantucket beachfront retreat. Meredith’s not doing well; she’s even been blackballed by her hairdressers and forced to live without highlights. Investors who formerly hounded her to persuade Freddy to accept their money now howl for her immolation. Even in disguise, she can’t get a pedicure at a Nantucket salon without being called out by an outraged victim. The narrative unfolds from the alternating POVs of Meredith and Connie. While coping with current crises, both women reflect on how their adolescent years shaped the present. Besides her adored father, the most important person in Meredith’s teenage life was Toby, Connie’s charismatic brother, who broke her heart. Instead she married Freddy, her fellow Princetonian. The couple struggled whilst Freddy founded his first hedge fund, but suddenly their fortunes soared. (Too suddenly, Meredith belatedly reflects.) Connie, who grew up in the same Philadelphia Main Line milieu as Meredith, is consumed by grief and regret after Wolf’s death from cancer. Her daughter Ashlyn, whose lesbianism sits ill with Connie, hasn’t spoken to her since Wolf’s funeral. Soused on chardonnay, Connie almost scuttles her first chance at new romance. And Marilyn is not so much an example of innocence wronged as passivity repaid. Although the timely premise titillates, the story soon degenerates into just another redemptive middle-aged reconciliation of past and present, complete with many bromidic meditations on the true nature of love.