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Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Review: The Widow of Wall Street by Randy Susan Meyers

The Widow of Wall Street by Randy Susan Meyers
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Atria Books

First, look at this GORGEOUS cover!  Second, this rise and fall story of a man obsessed with greed and power and his wife's journey with him is EXCELLENT.  HIGHLY, HIGHLY  RECOMMEND.  See below for my review and continue for a letter from the author along with dates for her tour stop (taken from publicity packet). 

"Phoebe never hated her husband more than when she visited him in prison."

Phoebe has known Jake her entire life - they've been sweethearts for as long as she could remember and there little doubt in anyone's mind they would get married. After one traumatic event, she becomes further swept away by Jake's caring and wanting to take care of her. She says yes and devotes herself to him. She would never find anyone else who would treat her as well as he did. Jake, growing up, remembers how poor his family was after his father's illegal activities tore their reputation apart. He swore he would live better, have nicer things and that Phoebe and their future children would never want for anything. He also swore he wouldn't follow in his father's path and do everything by the book. Who knew that one small mistake would avalanche into years of trying to catch up?

This novel is about young love, lifetime loyalties, how a couple's rise to power comes crashing down around them when the crimes are discovered and how everyone reacts to this betrayal. If Phoebe wasn't aware at least on some level that these crimes were being committed then why does she continue to visit him in prison? How can she right the wrongs when she never knew what was going on?

Told in alternating points of view from Phoebe to Jake, the author does SUCH a good job of unfolding their stories from when they were young, with big dreams, all the way to when they become grandparents and deal with the backlash of Jake's Ponzi scheme. We really get a good look inside both of their skulls. Beautifully written you become completely ingratiated into their worlds. You feel their losses, shake your head at their greed and empathize with the innocent bystanders who trusted in them. Highly recommend.

Thank you to Atria for yet another winner.

Why I wrote The Widow of Wall Street

by Randy Susan Meyers

When a scandal unfolds, I always wonder two things:

What was the self-told story the perpetrator believed that let him hurt so many people?

What is it like for his family?

When Bernie Madoff's crimes came to light, I wondered what it would be like to be his wife and wake up one day and find that your entire life was built on air.  When Governor Elliot Spitzer was discovered transferring money to a prostitution ring, I could only imagine the pain for his family.  Every crime has multiple victims - including the family of the perpetrator.

For the ten years I worked with criminals, the stories they told to excuse themselves both fascinated and repelled me.  And I learned how every person on this earth has a story they tell to explain away bad behavior - even if only to themselves.

Writing The Widow of Wall Street allowed me to explore both of my questions about scandals and how they applied to Bernie and Ruth Madoff, by inhabiting the point of view of both husband, Jake Pierce, and wife, Phoebe Pierce.

I need to understand life from as many angles as possible.  Writing transmogrifies fact into fiction and then into an emotional truth for me.  I used to play a song for my daughters, from Free to Be You and Me that swore that crying got the sad out of you.  Writing books like The Widow of Wall Street does that for me - it gets out my sad, mad, and curious.

Writing calms me.  Writing excites me.  Writing sorts out my world.

Meet Randy Susan Meyers on tour

April 17
Gibson's Bookstore

April 18
Point Street Dueling Pianos
with Brown University Bookstore

April 19
Stellina's Restaurant
with Dick Haley Books

April 24
FoxTale Book Shoppe

April 25
Excelsior Bay Books

April 29
Westin Waterfront Hotel

May 3
La Ranna Rosa Restaurant 
with Papercuts Bookstore

May 4
The Lightkeepers' House
with Buttonwood Books and Toys

May 9
Barnes & Noble Booksellers

May 16
Print Bookstore

May 30
Newtonville Books

June 21
Odyssey Bookstore

June 28
Belmont Books

July 20
Duxbury Free Library
with Westwinds Books

View all my reviews

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