Christine is back on the blog today with her review of The Widow of Wall Street. Read on for her thoughts!
Author : Randy Susan Meyers
Title : The Widow of Wall Street
Pages : 339
Publisher : Atria Books
Publication date : April 11, 2017
What’s real in a marriage built on sand and how do you abandon a man you’ve loved since the age of fifteen?
Phoebe sees the fire in Jake Pierce’s belly from the moment they meet as teenagers in Brooklyn. Eventually he creates a financial dynasty and she trusts him without hesitation—unaware his hunger for success hides a dark talent for deception.
When Phoebe learns—along with the rest of the world—that her husband’s triumphs are the result of an elaborate Ponzi scheme her world unravels. Lies underpin her life and marriage. As Jake’s crime is uncovered, the world obsesses about Phoebe. Did she know her life was fabricated by fraud? Did she partner with her husband in hustling billions from pensioners, charities, and CEOs? Was she his accomplice in stealing from their family and neighbors?
Debate rages as to whether love and loyalty blinded her to his crimes or if she chose to live in denial. While Jake is trapped in the web of his own deceit, Phoebe is faced with an unbearable choice. Her children refuse to see her if she remains at their father’s side, but abandoning Jake, a man she’s known since childhood, feels cruel and impossible.
Outstanding! What a HEFTY piece of women’s fiction this is.
The tale is spun over 5 decades. We learn in chapter one that Jake Pierce, a high echelon broker, ends up in prison for fraud in his mid 60s, 45 years or so after marrying 18-year-old Phoebe. This is their story.
I must say the first half of the book was slow in places. This was not helped by the fact that I had really mixed feelings about Jake, with more bad than good vibes. During that time frame I had not made up my mind about Phoebe. I don’t care how nice someone is; when they spend $20,000 on something I would spend $20 on, there is a disconnect.
But then, approximately midway through the book, the story suddenly reeled me in like a prize-winning fisherman—hook, line and sinker.
The themes of this story are numerous and are handled extremely well. What is real love? What is family? How well do you know your family? How does one carry on when struck by major blow after major blow? We see deception galore, we see people put in positions where decisions are almost impossible to make and there is seemingly no way out, we see how people rise or fall when faced with tragic circumstances. And that’s only some of it. Again, the novel is meaty and a real thinker. I will remember this one for a long time.
Let me not fail to mention that a total noninterest in financial matters should not deter anyone from reading this book. Ms. Meyers does a phenomenal job in making that part of the book not only understandable, but engrossing. I’m sure this took intense research on her part and explains to me what she was doing between the time Accidents of Marriage (which I loved) was published in 2014 and this one came out. The wait was worth it. Kudos, Ms. Meyers, not only for learning your stuff, but for keeping it from being boring.
I never like to go into any detail about the plot in my reviews as I am a “go in as cold as possible on all books” type of reader. I do however want to emphasize the brilliant job the author did on the characterization of Phoebe. Her struggles to deal with her situation and to try to salvage her life throughout the second half of the book were written beautifully, profoundly, and poignantly. This is what pushed my 4.5 rating to 5 stars.
Randy Susan Meyers has written a couple of older books that I have yet to read. They are now holding two spots on my very selective TBR. I strongly recommend The Widow of Wall Street for anyone looking for a strongly written and powerful story.
Thank you Net Galley, Atria Books, and Ms. Randy Susan Meyers for an e-copy of this novel. The opinions are mine alone and are not biased in any way.
The Widow of Wall Street is available now!