Title: Buying In
Author: Laura Hemphill
Genre: Contemporary fiction
Publisher: New Harvest
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Source: Review copy from the publisher for a tour with TLC Book Tours
First line: If anyone found her here, she’d be fired.
Goodreads blurb: Bright, ambitious Sophie Landgraf has landed a job as a Wall Street analyst. The small-town girl finally has her ticket to the American elite, but she doesn’t realize the toll it will take — on her boyfriend, on her family, and on her. It isn’t long before Sophie is floundering in this male-dominated world, and things are about to get worse.
With the financial crisis looming, Sophie becomes embroiled in a multibillion-dollar merger that could make or break her career. The problem? Three men at the top of their game, each with very different reasons for advancing the merger. Now Sophie doesn’t know whom to trust — or how far she’ll go to get ahead.
Set inside the high-stakes world of finance, Manhattan’s after-hours clubs, and factories in the Midwest and India, this is the high-powered, heartfelt story of a young woman finding her footing on Wall Street as it crumbles beneath her. Written by an industry veteran, Buying In tackles what it means to be a woman in a man’s world, and how to survive in big business without sacrificing who you are.
When it comes to Wall Street, Laura Hemphill is an “industry veteran.” She has worked for various banks and hedge funds, and her knowledge into the ins and outs of high finance is considerable. In my opinion, this works to both her advantage and disadvantage when it came to writing this novel.
On the positive side, everything about the world in which Sophie works is believable and authentic. While it is a world that I have a hard time relating to, I found myself understanding much more than I thought I ever would about business banking and investing.
On the negative side, I think Hemphill gives too much information, and uses too much technical speak, and so at times the story and characters become bogged down in the details. I can imagine that it would be very difficult to give the lay person reading a novel enough information to understand the terms of a high-stakes merger without it sounding like an economics lecture. In some parts of the book, Hemphill pulls it off, in others parts, she doesn’t. In those sections, I found myself pulled out of the story.
I definitely think that Hemphill is a gifted writer, and maybe, in her case, the old adage of “write what you know” isn’t the best advice. I would love to read more contemporary women’s fiction written by her, but maybe with a little less insight into the world of finance, and more insight into the inner lives of her characters.