Webs of Fate: Reviews

Entertainment for Hours!

Let me start by saying that this is a long book! It is over 15 hours…one of the longer ones I have in my library. However, the cliff-ending chapters are short, which I love, and kept me listening! For those of you who like long listens, this may be the one for you! It is the first book I have read in this series, as well as my first from this author. If I choose to listen to the others, I now have a good understanding of the characters, being that this is the Prequel to Darlene Quinn’s Web Series. Either way, it is able to be read as a stand-alone, if you so desire. The author seems to have written a book that appeals to lovers of multiple genres. She covers mystery, romance, and suspense and includes themes of greed, loyalty, lies, love, and crime. It will be especially loved by those who find interest in the 80’s high end department stores.

The narration was good, except for the beginning of the novel. The narrator’s pace was very quick for the first hour or two…it almost sounded rushed (at normal speed). I’m not sure if I just got used to it or if she slowed down, but I think her speed contributed a bit to my confusion in parts of the book. However, I felt her voices, tone, and inflection were right on cue. I think Karin Allers was a good match for this audiobook!

I rated Webs of Fate by Darlene Quinn 4 stars instead of 5 because I felt that the story could have been of shorter length. The multi-layered plot and introduction of multiple characters had me confused at times. I found myself re-listening to chapters so I could figure out what I missed. This was okay to me at first, since the chapters were short, but after doing it in five different parts, I started to become a little bothered. However, this is just my own personal opinion. I do plan to continue with the Web Series, and I recommend you give it a try! If you are looking for a well-written book by an author who is experienced and well-researched in the area of department stores/management, this is the one for you!!

Tara Brown

Department Store Mystery

I did enjoy this book, however, I did find it a tad long. There were a lot of characters and I sometimes found it a bit difficult to keep them straight. I had read “Conflicting Webs” in which Ashleigh was now Mrs, Taylor and it was interesting to hear how this came about. Books, with the lead being strong independent career oriented women, are one of my favorites. I am definitely interested in reading the rest of the series.

“I was voluntarily provided this free review copy audiobook by the author, narrator, or publisher.”

Darc

This Book Has It All!

The author literally put it all in this book. It has suspense, mystery, action, crime, humor, and the love story. I enjoyed it from start to finish.

“I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.”

Michelle

Like New Again

I first read this book back in 2011 when it came out and thoroughly enjoyed it. I am new to this audible experience so I am going back to listen to books I have in my collection. The way the narrator reads the story it is a whole new experience, she brings such life to the characters. I really enjoyed how she made me feel the emotions that author wanted you to feel from each character whether they were agitated, worried, overwhelmed etc., you feel it through her reading of the story.

I look forward to listening to the other books in this series in the coming months.

Peggy Kuntzelman

Welcome to the World of Fashion!

Would you consider the audio edition of Webs of Fate to be better than the print version?  I prefer listening to audiobooks because I can do other things while I am listening.

Would you recommend Webs of Fate to your friends? Why or why not?  I found the book to be too pretentious and the overuse of the character’s names annoying.

What do you think the narrator could have done better?  Nothing. She has a lovely voice and knew her characters well.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?  The overuse of the character’s names to be very distracting to the story.

Any additional comments?  “I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.”

Susan Patterson

A Great Book Update

I was gifted this audio ARC from the author/ Narrator for a honest and unbiased review.

This is the 2nd book of the series. Darlene Quinn did a good job making us believe in the wonders of the world of being sick and life beyond it. I personally thought it was drawn out but in saying that I haven’t had the honor of reading the first one.

I found Karin Allers hard to listen to at times but that’s on me as the tones of voices she used tend to annoy me at times. Overall I recommend this audio book.

Tammy

Books rated it 4 of 5 stars

This book will certainly not appeal to everybody’s taste, but I found it to be an exciting and compelling read. Not my genre of choice, but a welcome relief from my usual reads.

It took me awhile to get to the point where I couldn’t put it down, but once there I quickly got caught up in the highs and lows of the main characters’ lives. Intricately written with detailed character backgrounds and an exquisite setting, the multi-layered plot had quite a few unexpected twists and surprises. New characters are continually introduced into the story, which adds to the mystery and suspense, and draws the reader deeper into the drama.

Overall this was an intriguing read, written by an author who perceptibly wrote a crime thriller not only for its enjoyment value, but to engage readers in a gripping story where everything is not always what it seems. Two thumbs up to Darlene Quinn for a splendidly-written novel!

Dianne rated it 5 of 5 stars

Get ready to meet the ‘players’ in the high end retail fashion business as their personal and professional lives are spun into a web of deceit, love, and the quest for power at any cost, including murder. Darlene Quinn recreates the 80’s so well; it’s as if the reader is transported in a time capsule with her wonderful imagery through her words. Webs of Fate uncovers the not-so-pretty side of the world of high fashion and glamour when a fashion buyer goes missing and is accused of underhanded deeds. Determined to get to the bottom of her friend’s disappearance, Ashleigh risks her reputation and possibly her life as she gets a little too close to the truth. For Ashleigh, it is also a time of re-evaluation of relationships in her life, as her overbearing and cutthroat fiancé becomes more demanding and her mind wanders to Conrad Taylor, another powerful player in the retail fashion industry.

Darlene Quinn writes with attention to detail without overwhelming the reader, slowly introducing each character and the role they play in this intriguing and emotionally charged look “behind the scenes” where the weak are doomed and honor is an often rare, yet priceless commodity. Filled with characters that are used to living life at the top of the food chain, pushing the limits and getting their way, Webs of Fate becomes more addictive with each page.

If you are looking for a read that makes no apologies for the lifestyles of the rich and famous, yet still creates a good mystery with tension, you might like Webs of Fate.

I received a review copy from Greenleaf Book Group in exchange for my honest review.

Publication Date: August 24, 2011
Publisher: Greenleaf Book Group
ISBN: 9781608321728
Genre: Adult Romance/Mystery
Number of Pages: 529
Available from: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

5.0 out of 5 stars – Like the other books in the series I really enjoyed …

By Katarina Ortmann
Like the other books in the series I really enjoyed it.

It’s the type of sweeping saga that reminds me of Barbara Taylor Bradford books.

There’s strong women, family backstabbing, mystery, drama, and entertainment on every page.

4 Stars – A good book to get lost in

By Rose Martz
Webs of Fate

Ashleigh McDowell seemed to be at the top of her game in life. She had the perfect job, at the best company and a handsome, powerful man that she was engaged to. She was exactly where she had worked so hard to be; but just as she should be able to step back and take a deep breathe her friend and confidant Danielle Norman goes missing and there are irregularities that need to be discussed. Where could Danielle be?

As Ashleigh is dragged further and further into the mystery surrounding Danielle, she is learning unsettling things about her fiancé Mitchell and his son Anthony. All the reasons that she fell in love with Mitchell now seem to drive her crazy, and Mitchell’s relationship with his son is a huge red flag to their future children’s place in his chaotic and work intensive life. Ashleigh is no longer certain that Mitchell is the man she wants to spend the rest of her life with.

Unravel the mysteries and follow the trail of misplaced dreams and new love as we leap into the world of Ashleigh McDowell, as she struggles to redefine her dedication to her job, and her chance at a new and deeper love!

ARC received from author and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.*

4 Stars – More Tangled Webs!

By sgalley
Darlene Quinn’s Webs of Fate is a fast paced journey into the world of department stores and high fashion in the 1980’s. It is laced with greed, intrigue, and romance. Ms. Quinn does a good job of chapter development. She prevents the reader from putting the book down. It’s near impossible not to turn the page to see what is going to happen next. This is quite a feat when the book is 529 pages!

Ashleigh McDowell falls victim to a painful betrayal by Danielle Norman, a naive and vulnerable young buyer who is fighting to save her plummeting career. Ashleigh must find out what happened to Danielle and clear her name. Ashleigh begins to find comfort in the company of Conrad Taylor, the heir apparent CEO of her company, but struggles with these feelings.
Darlene Quinn weaves the various story lines and plot twists to a suspenseful and satisfying conclusion.

This is the third book in this series. You feel like you are catching up with old friends (and sometimes enemies). I can’t wait to find out what’s next for this beguiling cast of characters.

ARC received from NetGalley.

5 Stars – Suspenseful with a strong female lead

By Peggy Kuntzelman
If I were to put “Webs of Fate” in a category like so many places do these days when they try to suggest items for you, it would go under the category that always seems to come up for me “suspenseful with a strong female lead”. That pretty much explains how much I enjoyed “Webs of Fate” it is exactly the kind of novel that I love to read. One of the aspects I liked the most is that you like Ashleigh McDowell, the female lead. As a matter of fact you like her so much that you want to believe everything she believes, you want to trust her instincts even when the facts are working against her.

I have read the other two books in the series “Webs of Powers” and “Twisted Webs” so I really enjoyed learning more about the earlier lives of those characters and it also changed my opinion of a few of them. However each book stands alone with a fast paced story line to hook the reader and make them not want to put the book down.

In a few of the reviews I have read people have stated that “Webs of Fate” takes them back to a time or place they remember in their lives. It is just the opposite for me, while I was alive during the 80’s, I was not from a social class that would have ever gone to a store such as Bentley’s Royale (the fiction store in the book)so for me it is a chance to see a world totally different from my own. So I think that is one of the appeals of this book, it will be enjoyed by readers from various backgrounds.

4 Stars – AN ENTERTAINING READ!

By Books4Tomorrow
This book will certainly not appeal to everybody’s taste, but I found it to be an exciting and compelling read. Not my genre of choice, but a welcome relief from my usual reads.

It took me awhile to get to the point where I couldn’t put it down, but once there I quickly got caught up in the highs and lows of the main characters’ lives. Intricately written with detailed character backgrounds and an exquisite setting, the multi-layered plot had quite a few unexpected twists and surprises. New characters are continually introduced into the story, which adds to the mystery and suspense, and draws the reader deeper into the drama.

Overall this was an intriguing read, written by an author who perceptibly wrote a crime thriller not only for its enjoyment value, but to engage readers in a gripping story where everything is not always what it seems. Two thumbs up to Darlene Quinn for a splendidly-written novel!

4 Stars – High Fashion/High Intrigue

By Dii
Get ready to meet the ‘players’ in the high end retail fashion business as their personal and professional lives are spun into a web of deceit, love, and the quest for power at any cost, including murder. Darlene Quinn recreates the 80’s so well; it’s as if the reader is transported in a time capsule with her wonderful imagery through her words. Webs of Fate uncovers the not-so-pretty side of the world of high fashion and glamour when a fashion buyer goes missing and is accused of underhanded deeds. Determined to get to the bottom of her friend’s disappearance, Ashleigh risks her reputation and possibly her life as she gets a little too close to the truth. For Ashleigh, it is also a time of re-evaluation of relationships in her life, as her overbearing and cutthroat fiancé becomes more demanding and her mind wanders to Conrad Taylor, another powerful player in the retail fashion industry.

Darlene Quinn writes with attention to detail without overwhelming the reader, slowly introducing each character and the role they play in this intriguing and emotionally charged look “behind the scenes” where the weak are doomed and honor is an often rare, yet priceless commodity. Filled with characters that are used to living life at the top of the food chain, pushing the limits and getting their way, Webs of Fate becomes more addictive with each page.

If you are looking for a read that makes no apologies for the lifestyles of the rich and famous, yet still creates a good mystery with tension, you might like Webs of Fate.

I received a review copy from Greenleaf Book Group in exchange for my honest review.

The sign of a really good book is when I can’t wait to get to the end, yet am sad to see the last page.

The sign of a good book is when I reach the last page and can say I did not see one proofreading error. The sign of a really good book is when I can’t wait to get to the end, yet am sad to see the last page. Darlene Quinn’s Webs of Fate is all of this and more, and could easily be a standalone. Being part of Quinn’s Web series, the last page leaves us eagerly waiting to learn what is coming in the next book. What fate awaits Ashleigh, Conrad and yes, even Mitchell? Every character seems to be holding something back. Will we eventually find out what? Only time will tell. Quinn is a gifted writer who obviously knows retail and the world of high fashion. Her ability to develop character profiles the reader loves or hates (or at times a bit of both) is masterful. I am not-so-patiently awaiting the next installment.

~ Linda Thompson, Host of www.TheAuthorsShow.com

Webs of Fate gives a fascinating glimpse into the worlds of high fashion, millionaire mindset and murder. It is well crafted and written with skill and lyrical talent…You’re sure to be enchanted by this wonderful book.”

Lynette Baum: The Right Writer

“This book is a combination crime thriller, love story and several complicated friendships. The setting is the high-fashion world of the 1980s and the main character is Ashleigh McDowell, a high-level executive in Bentleys Royale. When her friend Danielle Norman engages in a form of embezzlement in an attempt to restart her career, Ashleigh engages in some detective work in an attempt to uncover the truth. Several millions of dollars worth of merchandise are twisted into a convoluted trail so that someone can obtain the money and Danielle has disappeared. Despite the evidence, Ashleigh is unwilling to believe that Danielle was a party to the scam, there are others that tend to believe her but in many ways she receives little in the way of support.
The web of several intertwined storylines is at time difficult to follow. Bentleys Royale is in financial trouble and a ruthless cost-cutting program is about to be implemented. There are many employees that are buttressing up their position for what appears to be the inevitable layoffs. Ashleigh was raised by her grandmother and a man named Charles and her two “grandparents” were never able to truly get together as Charles was married to another woman and divorce was unthinkable. Ashleigh suffered through the death of her fiancé and now she is engaged to a semi-ruthless corporate raider. Ashleigh is also in the early stages of a potential romance with a fellow executive of Bentleys Royale, which makes their positions as co-workers uncertain.
There are also two men that drove Danielle to take the actions she did, their motive was money and revenge. These two men are also connected to the other major players and there are a few ex-wives and other secondary characters that are pursuing their own agendas, expanding the tendrils of the plot.
With all these characters, the story is complicated and there is no climactic battle or revelation at the end. Therefore, the dominant feature of the story is the relationships between the people with the crime simply a force driving the relationships toward a resolution. The ending is not an overwhelmingly happy one, there is a love blossoming at the end but that is mitigated by terminal illness. If you are into crime thrillers you may be turned off by the convoluted relationships and if you are into stories of convoluted relationships you may be turned off by the crimes. I found the story a good one but not a compelling one in that I found it difficult to put down.”

Charles Ashbacher: Amazon

“As a child of the 80’s I loved how this book’s descriptive writing style took me back to the days of my youth. This book was a little slow moving at the beginning of the plot lines but quickened up and became inseparable from me! The chapters are short but packed with lots of action and information that keeps you turning the page. With background information comes flashbacks and a flurry of information that makes the story come to life. A great read for anyone who likes a mystery to cozy up with!”

A. Schwartz: Amazon

“I loved that this book was set in California in the mid-1980s. It took me back to the area that I grew up in and brought back memories of some of the great department stores of the time that no longer exist (May Co., Buffums) The book started off a little slow, but the pace quickened and the mystery was formulated. The chapters are short, yet still cover the necessary information to transition from one character’s storyline to the next. It was difficult at times to put the book down as the mystery unfolds and the characters relationships become more complicated. Quinn did a great job of handling background information with short flashbacks. Since the author’s background is in department store management, the book is right on the money about the working and dealings of this industry. Great read! “

Ranchwood: Amazon

“We’ve been told, as writers, to write what you know. This author surely did that. Her background in department store management shows through the entire novel.

Webs of Fate is a prequel to Webs of Power and Twisted Webs. If you enjoyed those two novels, you will surely enjoy this one. Also, it is written, I find, in the style of a “soap-opera”. There are 155 chapters, plus prologue and epilogue and other “extras”. However, most of them are very short, some only one page or so. The characters are very well developed. Each chapter seems to find you with a different character in a different scene, much like the old soap-operas. If you only have a few minutes at a time to read, this is very easy reading. On the other hand, the characters are so intriguing; you probably won’t want to put the book down.

If you have already read the other two novels, this one will add much understanding to the background of the plots, as a prequel is designed to do. I have not yet read the other two, but feel sure I will do so in the future.

This book is very well written, although not in the style one may be accustomed to in the usual term of “novel”. The chapters easily slide one into the next, and there is no difficulty in the reading or keeping up with the action. There is a lot of intrigue involved. The setting is California, and the reader can feel the “California” in it. I would recommend this book when one has more than the usual amount of time to read a novel. Well done, Darlene! “

Harriet W. Berg: Amazon

“When I first opened Webs of Fate, I was amazed at the number of chapters. Then I began reading. While it took me awhile to get involved in it (the retail world isn’t my thing), once I get hooked on the mystery, I couldn’t put it down. If you’re into the fashion and retail world, you’ll like it even more. The mystery really keeps the pace going. Excellent story. “

Toni Rakestraw: Amazon

“When a high-fashion buyer for a top-tier store disappears, loyalties shift and relationships blur in this gripping tale of Beverly Hills High-Society. Set in the mid-80s, Darlene Quinn’s grasp of the time and locale are amazing, as is her power of description when it comes to the interpersonal relationships of the characters. You have to turn the page, go on to the next chapter, not knowing who to trust and who to distrust completely. Ashleigh McDowell is sympathetically naive as she seeks allies in her search for a missing portage, Danielle Norman. Ms. Quinn’s novel is keenly wrought and spellbinding, in a time and place which has been promoted as being trouble-free.”

Just Joe: Amazon

“Darlene Quinn has spun a masterpiece in Webs of Fate – a prequel to her other books Webs of Power and Twisted Webs. Her new book offers a labyrinth of colorful, intriguing, multi-faceted characters – each with their own entanglement of agendas and secrets from within the 1980’s high-stakes fashion business world. The trilogy of stories by Darlene Quinn are on-par with the television series Mad Men – sheer, mind twisting entertainment.”

Brenda Minor : Amazon

“Webs of Fate entangled me in the story line right away and held my interest for the whole book. And the characters have stayed with me long after I have read the book. Well done, a good read and it made me remember some of the great department stores in Chicago where I lived. “

S M Senden: Amazon

“If I were to put “Webs of Fate” in a category like so many places do these days when they try to suggest items for you, it would go under the category that always seems to come up for me “suspenseful with a strong female lead”. That pretty much explains how much I enjoyed “Webs of Fate” it is exactly the kind of novel that I love to read. One of the aspects I liked the most is that you like Ashleigh McDowell, the female lead. As a matter of fact you like her so much that you want to believe everything she believes, you want to trust her instincts even when the facts are working against her.

I have read the other two books in the series “Webs of Powers” and “Twisted Webs” so I really enjoyed learning more about the earlier lives of those characters and it also changed my opinion of a few of them. However each book stands alone with a fast paced story line to hook the reader and make them not want to put the book down.

In a few of the reviews I have read people have stated that “Webs of Fate” takes them back to a time or place they remember in their lives. It is just the opposite for me, while I was alive during the 80’s, I was not from a social class that would have ever gone to a store such as Bentley’s Royale (the fiction store in the book)so for me it is a chance to see a world totally different from my own. So I think that is one of the appeals of this book, it will be enjoyed by readers from various backgrounds.”

pegward: Barnes & Noble

“I LOVE DARLENE’S WEB BOOKS BUT THIS IS A REALLY MUST READ. THIS IS A KIDNAPPING WITH ROMANCE, THRILLS, AND FAMILY SECRETS. IT IS EXCITING AND I LOVE ALL THE MEMORIES I RECEIVED FROM THE LONG BEACH PLACES THE CHARACTERS GO THAT ARE FAMILIAR TO ME. I LOVE THE SHORT CHAPTERS THAT KEEP YOU READING AND YOU DON’T WANT TO STOP. THANK YOU DARLENE AND I’M LOOKING FORWARD TO THE NEXT WEB BOOK.”

CATERERSHIRL: Barnes & Noble

“Darlene Quinn has given us a wonderful treat that ensnares you right away and pulls you in deeper and deeper as you read. Set in Beverly Hills in the 1980’s Quinn gives us all a dose of greed, revenge, anger and even love all tied to the bottom line — the profit. Do read this book, I really enjoyed it.”

SweetestSue: Barnes & Noble

“Loved it – you must read it!

Webs of Fate kept my attention from beginning to end. If I had not put it down because I had to eat dinner, I would have read all night. I did read to the end the next day.

The story about the babies is enthralling and you can’t wait to find out what happens.

I love the intrigue and would recommend to anyone who loves to read, loves a mystery and loves the stories of our great late department stores.”

QueenMumBarbee: Barnes & Noble

“When a high-fashion buyer for a top-tier store disappears, loyalties shift and relationships blur in this gripping tale of Beverly Hills High-Society. Set in the mid-80s, Darlene Quinn’s grasp of the time and locale are amazing, as is her power of description when it comes to the interpersonal relationships of the characters. You have to turn the page, go on to the next chapter, not knowing who to trust and who to distrust completely.
Ashleigh McDowell is sympathetically naive as she seeks allies in her search for a missing portage, Danielle Norman. Ms. Quinn’s novel is keenly wrought and spellbinding, in a time and place which has been promoted as being trouble-free.”

Starlostchild: Barnes & Noble

“Darlene Quinn strikes again! Taking us back to the mid-80s and department store glory, we are struck immediately by a brutal kidnapping and possible murder! Pages turn quickly through the intrige and corruption of Bentleys Royale. Is Danielle alive? What will happen to Ashley? Meet David Jerome, Conrad Taylor, Viviana, Mitchell and others in their lives prior to Webs of Power and Twisted Webs. Exciting and unpredictable! A good book club discussion book of the breakdown of corporate America.”

TL98: Barnes & Noble

“Attention to detail is the hallmark of Bentleys Royale, the fictional high-end retailer in Darlene Quinn’s novel Webs of Fate. The same could be said of Quinn, who renders her characters and settings so well that one could visit them and know exactly what to do. In fact, once I finished the book, I found myself missing the people in it. But the book is not just details, as finely drawn as those are. Quinn interweaves plots in a way that has you almost as concerned for the fate of the store as for the missing Danielle Norman.

I must admit that this is not a genre I have read before; I normally read nonfiction, but I read this at a friend’s urging. I’m glad I did. It was a wonderfully fun read, with beautiful people moving through a world where knowing what is being worn is almost as important as “who done it.” The complexities of the interpersonal relationships—ex-spouse, new fiancé, demanding boss, petty manager, prodigal son, friends who might not be and enemies who definitely are, problems at work and problems at home—make the story compelling, and contribute to the difficulty in figuring out what might have happened, who might have done it, and what could happen next.

If you enjoy a solidly crafted mystery that is hard to put down, and especially if you are intrigued by the world of high fashion, Webs of Fate would be an excellent choice.”

Cynthia Clampitt: Goodreads

“Why would Mitchell send white roses when he knew…? A picture of Gran in her coffin flashed before her eyes. For a moment she doubted herself. Hadn’t she mentioned…? She had. Ashleigh had specifically told him that white roses reminded her of death.”

Whew! The Prequel to the Webs of Power series is fantastic! If you haven’t read Quinn yet, I encourage you to start with this prequel before moving on to Webs of Power and Twisted Webs (Check out my earlier reviews). It is, of course, a great stand alone novel, but also does provide an earlier look at several of the main characters that brings each even more alive to readers.

Ashleigh McDowell, our main female character, had been engaged before. She had loved Dan dearly and before he died, Ashleigh had promised to look after her sister Danielle Norman. Now years later, Danielle was working as a buyer for Bentleys Royale, while Ashleigh was the leader in the human resources area and had done much to ensure personnel issues were routinely and quietly handled. She was well respected by all, even though none of them really knew her secret connection to Bentleys Royale.

Now, Danielle has disappeared and there were signs that she may have been attacked and taken from Bentleys…

But there are also signs of major financial tampering in her sales area–was she responsible for the thefts or had she discovered what somebody else had done and been taken because of that knowledge?

Fighting against Danielle’s supervisor who immediately wanted her fired and replaced, Ashleigh realized that they needed to find Danielle to really prove her innocence. But she was met with resistance from everybody, including Mitchell, her fiancee, who was just too selfish to have time taken away from him, even for Ashleigh to help a close friend.

As the investigation continued however, Mitchell became involved personally when one of his investments, Medley Originals, was named as one of the vendors who apparently was involved in the embezzlement.

“Ashleigh fingered through the Medley Originals sweaters, which were displayed in new Lucite bins, and looked up when the associate returned from the dressing room, her dark eyes filled with enthusiasm. She pointed to her special twenty-four-karat, gold-plated associates’ badge with two sparkling diamond chips, which identified Angela as a member of the honorary Hundred-Thousand-Dollar-Club. Though inflation had more than doubled the average sale over the past two decades, for the sake of morale, the sales requirement for the honorary club had not been raised…”

Amid the constant daily business life of the struggling but highly recognized Bentleys Royale, readers see the beginnings of corporate takeovers, merging, and loss of autonomy by the leaders of individual stores. One man, in fact, Conrad Taylor, had already been brought in and was overseeing activities at Bentleys. But he also one night met Ashleigh outside the home of Danielle Norman, both there to try to find some reason, some understanding of what Danielle has gotten herself into. Ashleigh finds herself attracted to him, even as she becomes more sure that she cannot marry Mitchell Wainwright. What she can’t understand is why Conrad is personally involved and, even more, why he has access to Danielle’s home…

However, when Ashleigh becomes the target of death attempts, she is glad Conrad has her back!

Webs of Fate is the best of Quinn’s books, in my opinion, providing an outstanding drama and excellent murder mystery. The fact that it also provides a solid background to this series is a bonus. Having read the entire series, knowing that each are powerful novels, I choose this as my favorite just because I enjoy the whodunit aspect wherever I find it! For corporate power actiion and suspense, the entire series must be applauded. It is clear that the author has a solid background in the world of department store management. This latest novel shows her expanding beyond her, perhaps, comfort zone into the mystery/suspense genre. Certainly a success! Highly recommended… “

Glenda Bixler: Goodreads

“Interesting characters, subtle twists and a mystery worth chasing. All in all, worth the read.
When a high-fashion buyer for a top-tier store disappears, loyalties shift and relationships blur in this gripping tale of Beverly Hills High-Society. Set in the mid-80s, Darlene Quinn’s grasp of the time and locale are amazing, as is her power of description when it comes to the interpersonal relationships of the characters. You have to turn the page, go on to the next chapter, not knowing who to trust and who to distrust completely.

Ashleigh McDowell is sympathetically naive as she seeks allies in her search for a missing portage, Danielle Norman. Ms. Quinn’s novel is keenly wrought and spellbinding, in a time and place which has been promoted as being trouble-free.”

Jon Batson: Goodreads

“This is an author you want to follow. To me it was more like watching a film. The attention to detail amazed me. Reading it was like living it. The vast character cast are very likeable, and vivid to the core. A mystery you need to find an answer to. As a writer I learnt a lot from this extraordinary writer. Being one of those books where the choice of words fit perfectly into the theme.”

Carlyle Labuschagne: Goodreads

“Emotionally captivating novel about betrayal and loyalty, anger and love, compassion and greed. Complex characters strive to live their lives among the difficulties faced in the upper echelons of the 1980s retail industry and are thrown off balance by the unfolding of unexpected events. Classy, eloquent, dynamic and passionate.”

Samanthanoellegolt: Goodreads

“The main female character was seeking true love like her grandparents had. The characters were well rounded and I could believe that they could be real people. I found the story to be a pageturner. I enjoyed the story from cover-to-cover. I will seek out this author again in the future.”

Brenda: Goodreads

“Darlene Quinn’s Webs of Fate (Greenleaf Book Group Press) is a fast paced window into the world of department stores and high fashion laced with mystery, intrigue, suspense and romance. Quinn does a masterful job of manipulating chapters to prevent the reader from putting the book down. It’s almost impossible not to turn the page to see what is going to happen next.

The main character is Ashliegh McDowell, a beautiful, smart and courageous executive who is consumed with finding and clearing the name of a missing buyer, Danielle, who looked to Ashliegh as her mentor. Ashliegh’s quest puts her life and career in danger, but she cannot stop until she finds out what happened to Danielle and to clear up evidence of criminal activity by her.

In the midst of her investigation, she also must deal with her rapidly diminishing affection for her fiancé, a very wealthy and powerful corporate raider who never takes no for an answer. Ashleigh must deal with the culminating stress and begins finds to find comfort in the company of Conrad Taylor, the apparent next CEO of her company, but struggles with competing feelings.

With the help of Conrad, the company security chief and a private investigator, Ashliegh keeps digging and keeps turning over clues that lead to disturbing revelations. Through these characters, Quinn weaves the different story lines into an exciting and satisfying conclusion.

The book is long, about 520 pages, but if you’re looking for a good read that’s entertaining and keeps you turning the pages, this is it.”

Mike Mcneff: Goodreads

“I loved this book! Let me see if I can explain how I felt while reading it…Have you ever been with your best friends “chatting it up” for hours? And the worry of someone needing to leave, breaking up the fun would run through your thoughts throughout the gathering? You coud have sat there talking forever, not wanting it to end? That’s how I felt reading Web’s Of Fate….I didn’t want it to end. I found myself spreading out my reading times because I didn’t want to finish the book. Kind of like a good candy bar…once you take that last bite…its gone! I also found myself thinking throughout the day what the characters in the story were doing, like they were actually a part of my iife! THAT’S when you know you’re reading a good book…when you think the “Danielle” in the storyline is your actual friend! Another thing I liked about Web’s Of Fate is that it left me with a satisfying closure. Often times, I find myself enjoying a book emensely but then the ending seems to be somewhat unsatisfying or anticlimactic. Darlene Quinn did a wonderful job drawing you into the lives of these characters from beginning to end. I look forward to her next book. Oh and I have to add…I’ve been to some of the locations she mentions in the book, which made it that much more enjoyable for me!”

Sally Szabo: Goodreads

“During these days of foreclosures, unemployment, and lack of surplus personal income, it is hard to remember how it was back in the 1980s when money was more plentiful and department stores were opulent creations complete with tea rooms, specialty departments and acres of merchandise enticing visitors to spend their hard-earned money.

Darlene Quinn’s latest novel, Webs of Fate, is a prequel to her other novels – Twisted Webs and Webs of Power. This latest edition in the series drops the reader smack into the middle of that long-ago decade in the department store world. The detailed prose, especially in describing the appearance and atmosphere of the store, places the reader within the luxurious walls and the aromas of fresh leather and perfume.

The beginning of the novel briefly introduces Danielle Norman, a young buyer working for the Bentleys Royal department store, who then goes missing and becomes the uniting thread for the rest of the story, as a cast of characters search for her and explores the multifaceted reasons for her disappearance. The main character of the novel, Ashleigh McDowell, is Bentleys Royale’s Director of Human Resources and is also a sisterly mentor to Danielle. Ashleigh’s entire world revolves around her job and she is conflicted between her loyalty to the store and her relationship with Danielle. The plot develops at a steady pace, adding characters to the story, including Ashleigh’s fiancé Mitchell Wainwright, Bentleys Royal Vice President Conrad Taylor, and Director of Asset Protection Ross Pocino.

While the background for this novel is the department store, this is far from a one-dimensional story. The plot is rife with twists and turns, including kidnapping, family secrets and romance, to keep the reader intrigued, not to mention glimpses into the day-to-day workings of a department store. Ms. Quinn somehow keeps the multiple plot threads going throughout the book and ties it all together into a believable ending, while setting the stage for her follow-on novels in this series.”

Kevin: Goodreads

“This spellbinding, suspenseful novel takes place in the heart of the high-fashion, fast-paced, fiercely competitive business world in Beverly Hills during the mid-eighties. Bentleys Royale is feeling the pinch of the negative economic climate which creates a tension and desperation for increased employee performance and the meeting of impossible career demands. In this highly charged atmosphere with budget cuts and unrealistic bottom line demands, executives must perform or risk the loss of their livelihood.

David Jerome, the hard-driven, tough taskmaster runs a tight ship. WEBS OF FATE, starts off with the mysterious disappearance of Danielle Norman. Upon further investigation, there appears to be discrepancies in Danielle’s department connected to an embezzlement scheme. She has been under pressure to meet her targets or lose her job. No one knows whether she is dead or alive or what part she’s played in this act of ultimate company betrayal. As the plot unfolds, her dear friend and mentor Ashleigh McDowell, becomes deeply involved in her efforts to discover the reasons behind the mysterious disappearance of Danielle. In doing so, she unwittingly puts herself in extreme danger. Ashleigh’s fiance, Mitchell Wainwright III, appears to be withholding pertinent information from not only the private investigation company he’s hired, but from her as well. Who can she trust as she seeks to find the much desired answers? The tall handsome, Conrad Taylor, becomes her ally in trying to put together the pieces to this intriguing puzzle which is built on lust for power, secrecy, and survival.

Quinn, an international award-winning author, weaves together the plot to WEBS OF FATE with skill and expertise. Her knowledge of this world is evident in every word that she writes. She utilizes this knowledge to create an action packed, fictional work of art that will capture any readers interest right at the onset. It is apparent that Quinn is no novice when it comes to her ability to create a story chock full of intrigue, jealousy, romance, hatred and revenge. The many twists and turns that captivate the reader and hold their interest is beyond description. This well-written work of fiction is over five-hundred pages long. I had a tough time putting this book down but due to its length, it was impossible to read in one sitting. I wanted to keep reading and reading and I was very disappointed to see it come to an end. To me, that spells a great book. Quinn made me want more…no reader can ask for more than that nor can any author!”

Dolores Ayotte: Goodreads

“A fashion buyer disappears under mysterious circumstances. Her department’s accounts are out of whack, indicating some reckless spending and, perhaps, felonious activity. Young Danielle is like a baby sister to Ashleigh McDowell, the lovely and headstrong personnel executive for Bentleys Royale. Doing her best to juggle her professional duty, personal relationships and determination to find the truth behind Danielle’s activities, Ashleigh herself becomes a target.

This is the recipe for Darlene Quinn’s “Webs of Fate” (Greenleaf Book Press, 2011), the thrilling prequel to “Webs of Power” and “Twisted Webs.”

Set in the middle 1980s, mostly in Long Beach, California, “Webs of Fate” is a tangled net of greed, manipulation and impending doom – both corporate and personal. Quinn gives us an inside look at the competitive nature of fashion, from outrageous marketing strategies to hostile takeovers. Numerous references are made to some of the regional players during that period, such as Buffum’s, The May Company and The Broadway.

From page to page, chapter to chapter, Quinn paints a vivid picture of how one person’s homophobia snowballs into embezzlement, abduction and exploding cars. With her own career and life at stake, Ashleigh relentlessly pursues the truth, while simultaneously trying to summon up the courage to end her engagement to Mitchell Wainright III. And for his part, Mitchell’s dogged determination to protect his family name unwittingly plays a part in Danielle’s fate.
“Webs of Fate” is the most suspenseful novel I’ve read since the late Michael Crichton’s “Airframe.” And Ashleigh McDowell is cut from the same cloth as heroines Casey Singleton of “Airframe” and Laurie Montgomery of Robin Cook’s “Blindsight.””

Woody: Goodreads

“Darlene Quinn’s new novel Webs of Fate is a page turner from prologue to epilogue. The well developed characters are introduced to the reader a little at a time with all their different personality traits, relationships to each other and of course the secrets of each will keep the novel close at hand until you reach the end. Webs of Fate is a Prequel to Darlene Quinn’s award winning Webs of Power and Twisted Webs. The novel delves into the 1980’s retail fashion market where a web of greed, murder, love, and forgiveness is spun for the cast of characters that will give you insight into the personal relationships in the workplace and personal lives created in this world of suspense and big business. I would highly recommend getting caught in this Web of Fate that Darlene Quinn has spun for us readers. I was privileged to be given this novel to read in advance.”

Stefanie Jackson: Goodreads

“The story about a fashion buyer disappearing under a cloud of suspicion seemed like a good read. Alas, 516 pages felt like 800 pages because the story dragged on and on, making very slow progress. All the FYI on fashion inventory, budgets, merchandising, etc. was exhausting. As were the stories for non-essential character’s occupations and backstories. A good editor could have weaned this down to around 300 pages and had a really good book about murder/intrigue in retail business. The non-starter, non-romances were annoying, too. I read the entire thing, but by the end, with all the explanations and repetitions, instead of being entertained, I felt I had finally finished an unpleasant chore.

I have another book by this author that I still intend to read. I hope Webs of Fate falls in the category of “not my cup of tea.””

Marguerite: Goodreads

“I thought this book was to long and drawn out. I tried to get into, but I found the 3 page chapters slightly annoying. I love to read and for me its usually pure entertainment, but not this book. I thought it took to long to get to the conclusion. The idea for the mystery was good, but I found that when I picked up the book each time I got some of the characters confused.”

Carol Harlow: Goodreads

“I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Quinn’s fast-paced writing and chapter-ending cliffhangers kept me in for the ride. Coming from a 1980s department store (now closed) management background, I felt at home waltzing through the back offices with Ashleigh and Conrad, who I loved in Webs of Power. Quinn’s characters are multi-dimensional and she pays such close detail to the little things around them. The reader cannot do anything other than see and feel the tale unfold. I had a hard time putting it down. I can’t wait to read Twisted Webs, the third part of the trilogy.”

Tonya: Goodreads

“Webs of Fate by Darlene Quinn is the perfect gift this holiday season. Do you know someone who is interested in the fashion world, or just loves a good mystery? Pick up a copy of this book! Set in the mid-1980s in California a buyer for a high end department store, Bentleys Royale, goes missing. Her friend and co-worker, Ashleigh McDowell sets out to find the truth about her missing friend. Aided by the handsome Conrad Taylor, another employee of Bentleys Royale, Ashleigh uncovers the truth about her friend and the criminal mastermind behind the disappearance. This book creates the background for Darlene Quinn’s other novels: Webs of Power and Twisted Webs.

This book was the perfect novel for my car book (I keep a book in the car to read while waiting for my kids to get out of school or at various activities). The chapters are short, yet still cover the necessary information to transition from one character’s storyline to the next. However, the book was hard to put down! I sometimes would sit in the car for a few minutes after arriving home. Quinn’s writing is good, although a bit cliche-ish at times. I loved reading about the “old” department stores that I remember as a young adult (May Company, Buffums) that no longer exist. Since I had no idea of how the fashion world work, this was an interesting view of the workings of a major fashion store.

Besides being an author, Darlene Quinn actually worked in the world of department store management. Her other two books, Webs of Power and Twisted Webs are both winners of the National Indie Excellence Awards and finalists in the USA National Best Books Awards In the high-fashion world of the mid-’80s, Ashleigh McDowell falls victim to a painful betrayal by Danielle Norman, a naive and vulnerable young buyer who is fighting to save her plummeting career. How high a price will both women pay in their battle over a grave secret?

Each step Ashleigh takes to uncover the truth about Danielle’s actions–and her whereabouts–unwittingly exposes her to a criminal mastermind who feels events spinning out of his control. Unexpectedly, Ashleigh discovers an ally in her hunt for Danielle–the handsome Conrad Taylor. But is he the man who will steal her heart or break it?
In a race against both time and the emotions that haunt her, Ashleigh ultimately finds what fate holds for her.

REVIEW

This book will certainly not appeal to everybody’s taste, but I found it to be an exciting and compelling read. Not my genre of choice, but a welcome relief from my usual reads.

It took me awhile to get to the point where I couldn’t put it down, but once there I quickly got caught up in the highs and lows of the main characters’ lives. Intricately written with detailed character backgrounds and an exquisite setting, the multi-layered plot had quite a few unexpected twists and surprises. New characters are continually introduced into the story, which adds to the mystery and suspense, and draws the reader deeper into the drama.

Overall this was an intriguing read, written by an author who perceptibly wrote a crime thriller not only for its enjoyment value, but to engage readers in a gripping story where everything is not always what it seems. Two thumbs up to Darlene Quinn for a splendidly-written novel!

This novel is a prequel to Darlene Quinn’s previous novels; Twisted Webs and Webs of Power. This time around, the period is the 1980’s; the decade before home foreclosures became the norm. Money was a lot more plentiful then, and big department stores such as Bentleys Royale offered items of pure class and wealth, beyond shopper’s wildest dreams. The magnificent store was complete with all kinds of specialty items, tea rooms, restaurants and acres and acres of goods that enticed rich and poor alike to spend their money. In fact, the novel will bring back memories to all readers of how it was to shop in luxury – remembering the smell of expensive perfumes and fresh leather goods.
In the beginning of our story, Danielle Norman, a young buyer working for the Bentleys Royale department store in Los Angeles, comes up missing after a meeting in the President’s office. An enormous cast of characters – some who worked with her and others who were just acquaintances – search for Danielle and try to figure out why she disappeared…if she did. They come up with many reasons for her disappearance, most of which are illegal.

The main character in the novel is Ashleigh McDowell, Bentleys Royale Director of Human Resources, and she is also a very close friend and mentor to Danielle. Ashleigh’s entire world revolves around her job and she is conflicted between her loyalty to the store and her relationship with Danielle. The plot develops at a steady pace, adding characters to the story, including Ashleigh’s fiancé Mitchell Wainwright; David Jerome, President of Bentleys; Bentleys Vice President, Conrad Taylor, and Director of Asset Protection, Ross Pocino.

Most of the background for this novel is the department store, itself, but this is not the only part of the story. The main plot and sub-plots are full of twists and turns including: kidnapping, family secrets, and romance – just to keep the reader even more intrigued. (Much like Jackie Collins’ famously fun books).

No Walmart or Walgreens here!! The author keeps the multiple plots going and that is no mean trick. Also, all loose threads are tied up before the ending, even though she leaves just a few threads dangling for the next in her series.
Quill Says: A great tribute to some of the old department stores; readers will wish they, and the size of their paychecks, were back. “

Holiday Gift Guide 2011: Webs of Fate by Darlene Quinn
The Shopping Duck on November 16, 2011

“Darlene Quinn knows how to get you hooked into a story. I have a rule, if a book can make me laugh and cry, it’s a winner. Webs of Fate did just that! And the ENDING….OMG. I can’t say too much about this book without giving away spoilers. If you love suspense and thrillers, this book is for you.”

Jenee Ariel Dana
Good Reads