Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Review: The Widow of Wall Street by Randy Susan Meyers (audio)

Title: The Widow of Wall Street
Author: Randy Susan Meyers
Narrator: Susan Bennett
Published: Audio - April 2017, Dreamscape Media / Paperback - June 2018, Washington Square Press
Length: 11 hours 19 minutes / 352 pages
Source: Audio via Library / Print - Paperback via GetRed PR

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.

My thoughts: I'm a big fan of Randy Susan Meyers, having read and enjoyed her previous two books. Her writing just draws you in and she explores topics in such a way that you can't help but be engaged in the story.

I fully admit I did not know much about the Madoffs before reading this book, though I of course had heard about them. I knew the bare basics of what Bernie had done, but I didn't know anything of his family. So, knowing this book is loosely based on that, I was a bit skeptical - I didn't want a book focusing on all matters financial. And yet, that is absolutely not what this book is about. What Randy Susan Meyers has managed to do here is take the scandal that happened but focus on the family members caught up in the fray.

This book is at it's core, a very thought-provoking, intense look at the effect Jake's deception and greed had on his family. This story shows just how impossible a position Jake put Phoebe in. Once the scandal breaks, she is faced with terrible decisions, decisions you and I could easily make looking in, but as you read this story, you realize, and even feel, the weight of these decisions and why Phoebe had such a hard time taking a stand. After all, she had been married to Jake for over 45 years and they raised a family together. He was her world, and she always stood by him. But could she continue to do so? What would be the cost if she does?

I think one of the more remarkable aspects of this book is just how much feeling drips from the pages. You feel all the emotions with this book - some at the characters and some right alongside. You will certainly go through a range of emotions yourself as you are reading - it's impossible not to. You feel Phoebe's devastation as her life crumbles around her and yet you can't help wondering just how innocent she really was in all this?  Yes, I did feel sympathy for her, but I also felt anger towards her. Throughout her marriage, she basically let Jake become her whole world, to the detriment of herself. She chose not to ask questions. How can you not lay some blame at her feet?

This book will certainly have you thinking and thinking some more. It is incredibly powerful. Randy Susan Meyers takes a hard look at this couple's marriage to figure out the answer to one single question - Will she stay? It shines a light on the fact that sometimes we let love blind us, instead of really paying attention to the things we should. It really is a great read and one that completely kept me engaged throughout.

Audio thoughts: This was a great book to listen to and Susan Bennett did a fantastic job with the narration. She was able to give each character their own unique voice, and more importantly her tone and emotion seemed to be just perfect for each scene. She really did infuse just the right amount of emotion or tension into her voice as needed. It was very easy to get lost in the story, listening to Susan Bennett's narration.


1 comment

  1. Wow! This sounds incredible, Kristin! I'm a fan of Randy Susan Meyers.


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