Book Review: High Stakes

This is the story of five women in a literary agency and how they cope with double standards, sexual harassment, marital problems, and abuse. It is set during the height of the “me too” movement and shows how each woman deals with these issues.

The newest employee, Jane, comes from a life of privilege, is not worried about losing her job, and is not about to take sexual harassment and abuse. When she stands up against a boss who won’t take no for an answer, she knocks over the first domino, and an avalanche follows.

What was made most evident when the abusive actions of one of the bosses at the agency are brought to light is that other people in power knew or suspected and did nothing. I think that is a true representation of what goes on in these situations in real life. In my opinion, the abuser’s business partner who turned a blind eye to it all is just as guilty and should have been prosecuted too. Although this is a strong story with a good message of women banding together and fighting back, I feel Ms. Steel wasn’t hard enough on the business partner in this novel.

Overall I would recommend this to anyone interested in women’s fiction and the “Me too,” movement.

I received a free copy of this book from Random House via Netgalley. My review is voluntary and my opinions are my own.

About the Author

Danielle Steel has been hailed as one of the world’s most popular authors, with nearly a billion copies of her novels sold. Her recent many international bestsellers include Against All Odds, The Duchess and The Right Time. She is also the author of His Bright Light, the story of her son Nick Traina’s life and death; A Gift of Hope, a memoir of her work with the homeless; and the children’s books Pretty Minnie in Paris and Pretty Minnie in Hollywood. Danielle divides her time between Paris and her home in northern California.

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Audiobook Review: A Woman of Intelligence

This review is of the audiobook, received from Macmillan Audio.

On the surface, Katharina Edgeworth has it all–a rich and handsome doctor husband, two gorgeous sons, and an expensive New York apartment. But reality is very different. She is a college graduate who speaks four languages and worked at the United Nations until she got pregnant. She loves her kids, but wants more than motherhood. It is the 1950s, and it is frowned upon for women with children to work. Now she has been forbidden to work or use any babysitters by her controlling husband, who works days at a time, but doesn’t want babysitters or anyone else raising his children. When an FBI agent leaves Katharina his card and says he could use her help, she is tempted, but how can she work as a spy while raising two boys practically on her own? To top it all off, her rich and haughty mother-in-law is continually butting into her business, and is even more controlling than her husband.

I enjoyed many aspects of this women’s fiction and spy thriller mashup. Katharina’s struggle to be more than a housewife in a time when this was discouraged makes an engaging read. Her work for the FBI during the McCarthy era is thrilling. Her friendship with a stunning woman who happens to be a prominent member of the Communist party is one of the best parts of the book. Her determination to use her talents in a fulfilling way for herself is admirable. However, the characterization of her husband Tom is way over the top. He is every stereotype of a 1950s husband–times ten. I also did not like some of the choices Katharina made along the way, but overall this was a satisfying and compelling thriller.

The narration of the book is well done, and the narrator, Jennifer Jill Araya, handles different characters and accents with ease.

My review is voluntary and my opinions are my own.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Karin Tanabe

Karin Tanabe is the author of six novels, including A Hundred Suns and The Gilded Years (soon to be a major motion picture starring Zendaya, who will produce alongside Reese Witherspoon). A former Politico reporter, her writing has also appeared in The Washington Post, Miami Herald, Chicago Tribune, and Newsday. She has appeared as a celebrity and politics expert on Entertainment Tonight, CNN, and CBS Early Show. Karin is a graduate of Vassar College and lives in Washington, D.C.

ABOUT THE NARRATOR

Jennifer Jill Araya

Jennifer Jill Araya has been listening to audiobooks since she was a young child, and the fact that she now gets to narrate audiobooks for a living is a dream come true. Jennifer’s training as an opera singer and orchestral cellist lend a musicality and depth of understanding to her narration that help bring her authors’ stories to life. A two-time Independent Audiobook Award Finalist, Jennifer has narrated over 150 audiobooks for a variety of publishers and producers, including Penguin Random House Audio, Simon & Schuster Audio, HarperAudio, Blackstone Publishing, and Audible Studios. When she’s not narrating, Jennifer can be found hiking, biking, running, or generally exploring her home city of Cincinnati with her husband Arturo (aka “Partner in Crime”) and their two children.

BUY A WOMAN OF INTELLIGENCE

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