Tuesday, June 20, 2017

The Widow of Wall Street

*I received an ARC in exchange for a fair and honest review, all thoughts and opinions are my own. This post also contains affiliate links that I make commission from.*

Are you reading over the summer? I hope you're getting in more reading than I am, I am hoping to get more in over the next few weeks so stay tuned for more reviews over the next months!

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.

From Brooklyn to Greenwich to Manhattan, from penthouse to prison, with tragic consequences rippling well beyond Wall Street, The Widow of Wall Street exposes a woman struggling to redefine her life and marriage as everything she thought she knew crumbles around her.

I had so many thoughts as I read this book because I know what a Ponzi scheme is so I came into this book with a preconceived assumption of Phoebe- I automatically didn't like her. I figured there's no way you live in a marriage and just have no clue that your husband is scamming that many people all these years and just have no signs at all. Right? Well, I don't know. But what I do know is that this is one of the most dysfunctional marriages I have ever read about and that's what Randy Susan Meyers nails as a writer. The last book I read of hers, Accidents of Marriage, featured a very dysfunctional marriage but this book tops it. 

If you are looking for a fast read, you'll not find it here, because this book begins with Phoebe and Jake as teenagers. Phoebe comes from a fairly well off family and Jake from the wrong side of tracks as they say. Phoebe's mom is sure she can do better and her dad thinks Jake is a good kid with potential and to leave them be. After remaining a virgin throughout high school and through most of college, Phoebe makes a critical mistake in college with a married professor that changes the course of her life and sets her up for a life time of guilt and deceit. She ends up marrying Jake because at this point she's lied to her family and to Jake and if you think of that time period, it would be unheard of for her to be on her own so she's got to stick with it. Plus Jake loves her, he absolutely adores her and she knows it. 

You know from early on in the book that Jake is obsessed with not just doing well but he wants to be rich. He isn't content with getting by and being able to provide, he wants to be the best. He wants to be better than his parents and it becomes almost an obsession. The stress of it eats at him and while he loves Phoebe it's clear he doesn't see her as an equal. So we have this push and pull throughout their marriage, this undercurrent of unhappiness yet neither of them unwilling to leave for their own reasons that make complete sense when you really think about it. She because she has this awful secret of deceit, he because she really does believe in him and knows the kid who started from the bottom and worked his way up. So they become the only person the other one can depend on even though, in a way, they hate that that person is a crutch they hate to have, if that makes sense? They end up having children, he goes to prison because it's a Ponzi scheme and you know those always go to hell, and in the end- her children make her decide, them or Jake. 

And Phoebe struggles because she knows she owes nothing to Jake, the man who stole millions from everyone they knew, left their lives in ruins and left her with nothing and yet... she can't help it she feels like she does. But at the same time her children so desperately want her to cut the ties and rebuild what life she has left (she's in her sixties) and move on, and she's not sure what to do. 

The book is absolutely riveting. It IS a slow read and I almost didn't finish it but I found myself picking it back up time and time again because I just had to know what Phoebe was going to do because that's the thing with this author- she writes characters that you really can't stand, then you kind of sympathize with, then you find yourself totally annoyed that you're even kind of liking them, then in the end you realize that was the point- you realize it's to make you understand how judgmental we all are and how we shouldn't be because we can't possibly know what it's like unless we're walking in those shoes. We might think we know what we would do but unless those shoes are on our feet we have no idea. Excellent read, I highly recommend this especially if you like reads about dysfunctional marriages! 

No comments: