Image via WikipediaWebs of Power
Webs of Power is a work of fiction; however, if you happen to fill a high-level position in some corporate hierarchy, you may think you're reading a story about your own company! Darlene Quinn has done an excellent job in taking readers into the fast-paced and sometimes terror-filled world of high finance and corporate takeovers. This time, for department stores, in the late 1980s.
Quinn's note at the end of the book provides a short, helpful historical view of the rise and, to some extent, fall of the great department stores. Most of us at least recognize the name of Macy's, which sponsors the annual Thanksgiving Day Parade. Many have watched as other stores have closed and the downtowns of our cities board up the large windows that formerly provided samples of what these stores offered.
There is no doubt that Power...and the desire for ever, more Money were the main factors that drove the creation of large conglomerates. By the time of this story, there were billions involved in mergers, hostile takeovers, and the resale of smaller stores.
Webs of Power focuses on three women and those around them. Into the webs of deceit in business, they brought the only thing stronger than power and money. They brought Love.
Page Toddman, together with her husband Mark, were major players at Consolidated. They both had personal histories with the company and had contributed greatly to its growth. However, at the first sign of financial weakness, an Australian land developer, Philip Sloan made a hostile offer of $4.2 billion for the retail empire. Mark was immediately caught up in trying to prevent the takeover, but Page had something much more important that she faced--a late-life pregnancy that forced a re-evaluation of what was most important to her.
Ashleigh McDowell, engaged to be married to Conrad Taylor, one of Mark's primary executives, had unexpectedly been asked to take over the reigns of his father's business, commercial investments, and had to relocate across the country. Ashleigh's career was at Bentley's, a prestigious division of Consolidated, and was forced to stay there as everyone worked to prevent the takeover. Could love survive postponement of their wedding indefinitely?
Viviane De Mornay is the glamorous woman you want to hate, but cannot. She, too, was affected by the potential upheaval of the takeover--but potentially in a much-different way. For she is having an affair with Philip Sloan! Her tangled life could be the most affected and she dreams of standing beside Sloan as he takes over Consolidated. Besides she loves him. What she can't quite be sure of is that she loves him for himself--or for the power and money he can provide her.
Quinn has effectively used her experience and expertise in department store management to create a thoroughly intriguing, believable, and twisted drama of deceit, love, greed--and, yes, webs of power! Once you get caught in the tangle of the lives of these three women, you will be turning each page until you know what happens to them.
One small sub-plot of a former corporate raider, who gave everything up to take care of his much-loved son when he became ill, was one of my favorite surprises. What does the power of love do to the lives of those affected by corporate power struggles? This book reveals it all! Enjoy!
G. A. Bixler