Webs of Power: Reviews

“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!”

Glenda A Bixler

With every new book in the Webs series, Ms. Quinn gets better and better!

I especially like the way she brings back familiar characters and keeps them relevant, until their stories have reached a natural conclusion. I also appreciate how she introduces new characters that become the focus of each book. There are a couple of rather nefarious guys in this book that made me grit my teeth, but without them, the story would not have been complete. In Webs of Power, I found several subliminal messages – each making specific points about ethics, integrity, and life itself. And once again, at the end of the book, she shares her insight into the past, present and future of the retail industry. I find this very interesting and it adds clarity to the story itself. I have a feeling Ms. Quinn wasn’t one to mess with when she was at the height of her retail career. I say that because she loves strong women characters and knowledge of that kind of strength comes only from experience. Once again, I eagerly anticipate the next installment of the Web series.

~ Linda Thompson, Host of www.TheAuthors.Show.com

Webs of Power 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.”


“I couldn’t put this book down, it was so exciting. I read half and had to work and realized I could’t pick it up until I had time to read the rest. It is an absolute must if you love a good read of corruption and greed.”

Barnes and Nobel Review

“This is about 3 women, probably around 40, who live soap-opera-like lives. I never really connected with any of them. It was difficult to stay focused on the plot, because the chapters were too short. I never thought I would feel that way I am a fan of short chapters. However, it was hard to develop any interest in the plot when the focus kept changing from one of the characters to another. Without a doubt, the author has the inside scoop on retail. However, do any of us care? Not really.”

Barnes and Nobel Review

“I feel much smarter after reading this book. It gave me a glimpse of a world I knew nothing about.”

Barnes and Nobel Review

“Enjoyed the story. Hits home about the corporate world..Keeps the reader involed. Liked the short chapters..Fell in love with the character Ashleigh. Looking foward to her next book. Maybe a sequel?”

Barnes and Nobel Review

“What seems like an inside story, based on fact, of a hostile takeover of well established, up-scale, and revered department stores, becomes much more complicated as the characters in the drama are introduced, along with their complex personalities, foibles, needs, greed, egos and ethics. It’s difficult to put the book down until the last page.”

Barnes and Nobel Review

“Although the subject matter of the book, retail department stores, was novel, the storyline was predictable. I would have enjoyed a non-fiction account, without the Danielle Steele storyline.”


“Marriage is a strange thing, and stranger still when power enters into the mix. “Webs of Power” is the story of three women who are entangled with the world of big business. Paige wants to raise a child that the father doesn’t want, Ashleigh wants to help her mentor but her fiance won’t help her, and Vivana wants nothing more than to be a trophy wife to the one in charge. A story of three women with very different lives and goals and how one company brings them together, “Webs of Power” is highly recommended reading to any literary fiction enthusiast and community library collections.”

Midwest Book Review

“Webs of Power is a fascinating and at times unforgiving peek into the lives of three career-oriented women (one actually getting to step away for a while), who are closely connected to the retail industry. The story delves into their relationships with the men in their lives, what brought them to where they are, and the circumstances, greed and manipulation that surround them. Darlene Quinn’s cast of characters are intelligent and intriguing, each attractive in her own way. There’s even a person you’d love to hate! Keeping you on the edge of your seat throughout the book is the question: what will become of each of them in the midst of a huge corporate takeover? Not wanting to give away the ending, I will tell you that this is a fun, delightfully trashy at times, entertaining read, and it will be hard to wait for the sequel!”

Francesca Romero
Pres., Havertine Book Club

“I just couldn’t put this book down, it is so exciting. I read over half and then had to work. I had to make sure I didn’t pick it up until I knew I could finish reading the whole thing. It keeps your interest from beginning to end and I recommend it highly if you like an interesting read of greed and corruption.”


“Darlene Quinn’s Web of Power gives an insider’s account of the politics, glamour and often ruthless world of department store takeovers. Her well researched book is a fast paced view into that world of working women in the 80’s. Although I am a male, I appreciate the author providing board room drama for women in business, who are not largly represented in fiction. The short chapters made the story easy to stop and start for busy people. There’s enough personal dramas in the main character’s lives to lather up a bit of soap opera too.”

Paul Williams

“When big business deals are made, the usual players are men. Webs of Power explores the lives of three women affected when a business tycoon threatens to take ownership of a department store giant.

Paige Toddman has it all. Married to Consolidated’s West Coast Division CEO, she has wealth, prestige and time to explore her own interests. Until one day an unexpected surprise comes between her and her husband, threatening to end their marriage once and for all.

Ashleigh McDowell is engaged to the President, and they are about to embark on their new life together when the attempted takeover begins. Her father-figure is still a powerful player in the department store enterprise, and when his daughter and her husband begin to take determined steps against him, Ashleigh needs to protect him.

Viviana DeMornay craves the power that only comes from being associated with the best, and that means selling her soul to the devil – the very man who plans to take over the enterprise that currently employs her. How much of herself is she willing to give up to marry him?

These three fascinating women live through the emotional roller coaster of this takeover, supportive of their men, but caught up in their own needs and desires, as well. As the business deal winds to a close, will they find the happiness they seek?

Darlene Quinn has woven a captivating story that pulls you in, as the web closes in on Consolidated. Short, quick chapters keep the reader turning the page, wanting to see what happens next in these intricate negotiations. Suspenseful and well-written, Webs of Power is a compelling and enjoyable read.”

Alice Berger
Bergers Book Reviews

“I love to read books that are character driven however in the past few years I have picked up more books and then put them down after the first few chapters than I can count. That was certainly not the case with “Webs of Power”. I couldn’t put this book down. That is the biggest compliment I can give to an author. I don’t know how many times I would tell myself just one more chapter and then five chapters later I was still reading.

I don’t know anything at all about the corporate world and I was afraid that I would be lost trying to understand what was going on. I have to say that Darlene Quinn did an amazing job of explaining it and making it interesting. I really enjoyed her writing style and the way that the story flowed.

I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys books with strong characters both male and female weaved into fast paced well written storyline.”

Peggy Kuntzelman

” With obvious “insider’s” knowledge, Darlene Quinn has created a web of intrigue that draws the reader into the best and worst of the retailer’s world. I found myself rooting for her smart women, and wishing I could boo the villains. The book came with me on a trip, and once I began reading, I made sure it was always within easy reach. Best of all, I can say proudly, Darlene was one of my students. Maralys Wills. Author, “Damn the Rejections, Full Speed Ahead.” “

Maralys Wills
Author – Higher the Eagles

“I’m not generally inclined to read novels because I don’t have the time and so few interest me. But this one did interest me and entertained me. If you enjoy reading about the business world and how greed and power affects the personal lives of those involved, you’ll love this romp. It’s well written and a real page-turner. I highly recommend it.”

Susanna Hutcheson

“Quinn, familiar with the operations of large retail department stores, takes the reader through the turbulent years of the 1980s when leveraged buyouts became the hot new ticket for making millions, an inventive way to profit from the market without needing to introduce a new product or provide a service.

It is uncertainty that rules the lives of Quinn’s characters. Forced to play the precarious takeover game initiated by a greedy financier, company executives put themselves at personal financial risk in an effort to save the institutions that brought international merchandise to the front-door steps of the American people. Risk, however, does not discriminate. Even the craftiest market manipulators can find themselves entangled in a web of power.

Book Junkie

“Normally, reading about three women would be a tough read for me, but Ms. Quinn changed my mind in her book, Webs of Power. When I read about Viviana fretting over wearing high heels or not (to make her appear less tall next to her married lover) then deciding, “Better to be a tad taller than Philip, than to have unattractive legs,” I was hooked. The insight into her three main characters’ minds was a fun and fascinating ride. By the end of the book, just when you think you might understand how a woman thinks . . . don’t bet on it guys, its only a ruse! Thanks for the peek, though, great book!”

Author – Gamadin Series

“After reading Darlene Quinn’s last book, Sizzling Cold Case and enjoying it immensely, I was looking forward to her next book. I didn’t have long to wait when Webs of Power recently became available.

I have to admit after reading the first few pages I was lulled into thinking this was a book about a corporate takeover, but I was wrong and continuously rewarded with unexpected plot twists. The book really shines when the action starts. Quinn has a way of drawing the reader in as the action heats up and the pages keep turning. You can tell Quinn knows her subject matter, and for those of us not well versed in the corporate world she has a brief history at the end of the book to educate the uninitiated.

It was a great summer read. I couldn’t believe how quickly I sped through it to find out how my favored protagonist fared at the end of the story. You’ll have to try it yourself, there are no spoilers here.”

L. de Vincent

“”Webs of Power” is a fascinating look at human nature when mixed with the elements of power, greed and desire.

Have events beyond your control ever taken over the reins of your life? Have you ever wondered how you were going to overcome a sudden business upheaval, the loss of love, or the possible death of a loved one? “Webs of Power” is a story about three women who have the familiar comfortable fabric of their lives shredded by a sudden hostile takeover of a major department store chain and their unique involvements.

Each of these women are facing very different and personally devastating loss. An unwanted pregnancy and hidden past alienates one of these from her husband. After a violent attacked a woman’s life is in danger and her only father figure is in a coma, and one clings to her lover determined to pry him away from his seemingly undeserving wife to satisfy her need for power and greed. But will that be enough?

I highly recommend this book.”

Kathy Porter
Author of Gray Guardian Series

“I really liked this novel and its characters! If you like “Lipstick Jungle” then this book is for you as it’s a wonderful look at the inside world of the corporate world, women balancing work and life, and marriage.

In particular it reveals a very interesting backdrop and history of the retail industry in the 1980s.

For anyone who loves to shop and for women who love to read truly character-driven novels, I highly recommend this book!”

Nettie Hartsock

“This story is full of interesting facts about the inside workings of the retail industry. Darlene lets us in on the technicalities left out on the evening news. Great fun for local Long Beach readers as much of the story takes place in Naples and Belmont Shore. I personally enjoyed following the action around the town.”

Debbie Gerardi

“I can’t say this book was one of my favorites. It actually was pretty well written except for the super short chapters that totalled 114 by the end. I would have liked the book better if the chapters had been longer and there had been fewer of them. And I’m still kind of clueless as to what the title of the book had to do with what was written between the covers. I guess I can see the Web. But where was the power?

Paige, Ashleigh, and Vivian – three women all around 40 and none particularly interested me. Paige is a department store executive’s wife who has no kids and is dishonest. Ashleigh is a human resources executive who is about to get married. Both she and her fiance work for Paige’s husband. And Vivian is a fashion-merchandising director who works under Ashleigh.

I didn’t like Paige because she got pregnant and then argued with her husband over whether to keep the kid or not. Neither really wanted the kid. And neither could properly raise the kid even if they had it. I got a headache just reading the soap opera sounding dialogue regarding the pregnancy issue.

I didn’t like Vivian because she was big into plastic surgery. She was having an affaire with a married man. And by having the affaire she was purposefully trying to break up the man’s marriage. Basically she was a gold digger – major slime.

And then there is Ashleigh. She wasn’t a bad person. But she wasn’t a great character that a story could be written about or around. There wasn’t anything special about her character.

We are introduced to these three characters early in the book and basically are forced to read soap opera story line after soap opera story line. The author tries to make something out of department stores and a hostile takeover of a department store chain. Talk about a boring setting for a book! Department stores are not glamorous. And neither are mergers and acquisitions. And when the author takes department store executives and tries to make them into savvy businessmen who are adept at strategic planning, due diligence, and corporate finance, the book loses all its credibility.

The author doesn’t seem to be a particularly bad writer. This is supposedly her second attempt at writing a novel. But in my humble opinion she still has to work on developing a great story that is interesting, realistic, and something worth reading. In my humble opinion the story in this book wasn’t worth writing about. 3 stars!”

Marci Twain

“I absolutely loved this book. I was hooked from the first page to the last. I read half the book in one sitting. Addictive page-turning, scheming, power grabbing, money grubbing, greedy fun. It reminds me of those night time soaps I used to watch in the 80s. Remember Dallas, Dynasty and Falcon Crest? This book has all that and more. Characters you hate, characters you love. Some you want to knock over the head and others you despise and hoot and holler at their downfall.

It’s intellengently written and gives the reader an insider’s look at the back room games involved in leveraged buyouts. The details surrounding leveraged buyouts are interesting and entertaining at the same time. She skillfully weaves a tale of underhanded tactics and white knights. In this instance Ms. Quinn bases her story around the department stores and she knows of what she writes having been part of the industry.

I’m glad she didn’t tell the whole story in Webs of Power because I’m looking forward to spending more time with these characters in her sequel, Twisted Webs.”


“Don’t we all feel nostalgic for a simpler time–when we shopped at our favorite stores, mindless of the machinations going on behind the scenes? Hostile takeovers and leveraged buyouts were terms foreign to our understanding or concern. No more! Darlene Quinn has taken on Big Business in a big way. A hostile takeover triggers a staggering series of events that threaten the happiness, conscience, and survival of three strong women and the men in their lives. The author has woven events, choices, and their repercussions into an intricate web that ensnares the reader and clearly indicates Darlene Quinn’s experience and expertise in this world of crisis in the retail business of two decades ago. A fascinating read.”

Wesla Kerr

“What’s important to you? Okay, now what is really important to you? Darlene Quinn explores the lives of three women who are forced to answer those questions. Darlene draws each woman–Paige, Ashleigh, and Viviana–with the skill of a master storyteller. In the world of hostile takeovers and high finance, ambition, loyalty, and family are motivations each of these women must examine and Darlene carries the reader along effortlessly.”

Brennan Harvey

“The complex personalities involved, greed, and lack of total honesty leed you on an unpredictable adventure. The book starts with a simple premise, but don’t let that fool you. As characters are introduced, in the short chapters that I love, the more complicated the plot. The twists and turns of personalities are well developed and mercurial. What seems like a simple, hostile takeover by and ego-centric Australian becomes complex as the personalities involved are shown in their full color. “/h5>
Barbara Home-McClousky
“Think leveraged buyouts and hostile takeovers are dull business-page news? Think again. Webs of Power, a drama of love, secrets, betrayal and danger, will hold you spellbound as it explores the turbulent world of fashion merchandising in the 1980’s. When a corporate raider attacks a mercantile empire, the lives of three strong women and the powerful men they love are thrown into upheaval. How they respond, and the interwoven events they set in motion, makes for a fast-paced, absorbing story with plenty of surprising turns. Darlene Quinn knows the world of department stores and fashion management; her surefooted depiction of people and places makes you feel like an insider in a high stakes game. Shopping at Macy’s or Bloomingdale’s may never feel the same.”

Margaret L. England

“You have to read this book! Ms. Quinn has created three strong, interesting female characters who are dealing with the repercussions and realities of a very real hostile takeover that rocked the retail world in the 1980s. It’s clear that Ms. Quinn knows her stuff when it comes to high finance and retail — and she can craft a page-turner to boot!”

K. Muhs

“What is an inside story, based on fact, of a hostile takeover of well established, up-scale, and revered American department stores, becomes much more complicated as the characters in the novel are introduced, along with their varied, realistic personalities, foibles, needs, greed, egoes and ethics. It’s difficult to put the book down. I could identify with several of the characters, both the “good” and sadly the “bad”. “

C. J. Hesse

” “Webs of Power” by Darlene Quinn is a fast paced look at the lives of three women (and their significant others), linked together by a hostile corporate takeover. The retail industry is rocked by a Leveraged Buy Out by Australian Entrepreneur, Philip Sloane. Viviana De Mornay is an employee of the company who will stop at nothing to become Phillip’s wife. Paige Toddman (wife of the company’s West Coast Division CEO), is forced to decide how to handle the pressures this LBO is placing on her marriage, an unexpected pregnancy and the ghosts of her past. Ashleigh McDowell (fiancée of the company’s West Coast Division President) must figure out how she can move forward in her relationship while her fiancé’s job is in turmoil, and still balance things with her elderly father figure.

I found “Webs of Power” to be a real page turner. I was skeptical at first that I’d be interested in following what seemed to be three different story lines within a single story, but Ms. Quinn did a fabulous job of keeping up the intensity and pulling them all together. I was genuinely invested in the lives of these women and I found myself routing for the “good guys” and hoping the “bad guys” would get what they deserved.”


“I don’t know much about Wall Street or the Stock Market or hostile takeovers, but I get the gist of what they are talking about when stuff comes up in this book. There are certain characters I liked, some I was even more interested in than others. For example, Paige Toddman and her unwanted pregnancy was an interesting story line. There are some characters I wish the author would have shared more about what happened in their past, because sometimes it seemed like there were more interesting things that could have been visited. Like, Ashleigh’s past could have had more revealed. So there were some good things and some drama. The book moved at a somewhat fast paced, mostly I think because the chapters were short. There were some characters I had a problems with, though. One in particular was a minor character, but his portrayal still bugged me. His name was Sonny, and he was a very generic, flat-written Irishman with red hair, an Irish accent and green jumpsuit. It kinda annoyed me every time he talked to Paige, and if he said ‘Top of the Morning’ one more time I think I would have thrown the book. I have been to Ireland. Most Irish don’t say that, at least not any where I went … Or maybe they did in the 80’s, which is when this takes place, but it still feels forced. I know it is a minor thing, but sometimes the minor things get to me and can be a distraction. I was more interested in the drama unfolding with the women and not corporate stuff, but I was able to get through it. I think the book lasted too long at the end. I am not saying it was bad, and I am not saying it was great. It was okay”

Shannon McGee

“Darlene Quinn’s colorful portrayal of the complex world of retail and its players is intriguing. Her characters come alive in this fast paced, provocative novel. You won’t want to put this book down!”

Stella Guild