Phoebe recognizes fire in Jake Pierce’s belly from the moment they meet as teenagers. As he creates a financial dynasty, she trusts him without hesitation—unaware his hunger for success hides a dark talent for deception.

When Phoebe learns her husband’s triumph and vast reach rests on an elaborate Ponzi scheme her world unravels. As Jake’s crime is uncovered, the world obsesses about Phoebe. Did she know her life was fabricated by fraud? Was she his accomplice?

While Jake is trapped in the web of his deceit, Phoebe is caught in an unbearable choice. Her children refuse to see her if she remains at their father’s side, but abandoning him feels cruel and impossible.

My Thoughts: The story that unfolds in The Widow of Wall Street is not as shocking as it once might have been, since other men have also betrayed their investors and their families. What sets this story apart is how we very slowly come to know Jake and Phoebe via their alternating voices, from their teen years until their world fell apart.

From the beginning, though, and probably knowing how the story would end, I disliked Jake, who tried to get by on charm and tall tales. Admittedly, Phoebe had also kept a big secret from Jake through their whole lives together, but she paid her dues by taking care of him, the family, and bowing to his wishes most of the time. Having luxuries cannot make up for what one loses in confidence by having a spouse who belittles, makes demands, and hides the most basic things from his wife.

We follow Jake and Phoebe through their lives in a linear fashion, which felt a bit like a very slow reveal at times, but my interest perked up after Jake’s sins were finally out in the open.

In some ways, Jake got off easy, since the load of his secrets was lifted, while Phoebe was left with the stares and scorn of the public, and having to pick up the pieces of her life after losing most of her possessions. Sadness, loss, and broken connections would follow her always, but at some point, she would find a way to start over.

I liked this excerpt that reveals how those with plenty develop their sense of entitlement:

“Rich people thought themselves special, but in truth, they simply possessed extra layers of insulation against the winds of misfortune.”

Obviously, those who lose their worldly goods, their position in life, and their favor from the world around them have also lost those extra layers. A bitter truth that Phoebe discovered, through no fault of her own. An unforgettable novel, this one earned 4.5 stars.




  2. I’ve just started reading this book, so it’s too early for me to tell if I’ll like it or not. One thing for sure, the characters are nicely drawn and the author does a good job of showing where they’re coming from. Interesting story so far.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Very good review. Though I’ve enjoyed every other title written by Randy Susan Meyers (great author), I am just not drawn to this one, maybe because I have no sympathy for the Ponzi scheme swindlers, and the families that put up with it for the money… and can’t be oblivious to the situation, unless they don’t communicate with their spouse. I’ll pick it up if I see at the library, but wouldn’t buy this one, and look forward to the next title Ms. Meyers writes.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I can understand your point of view, but I do enjoy learning about how the events unfolded and how the dynamics of the relationships contributed to their inability to see what was happening.

      Thanks for stopping by, Rita, and enjoy your books.


  4. The Madoff tale which I assume this is based on — is still mind-boggling for all those decades it went on, the depth of fraud, deceit and devastation seem staggering. I’m sure it would make for a good novel though perhaps the true story is even more staggering. I feel for all the innocent people taken down by this.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’ve read a couple of books based on Madoff-like frauds and probably the series I like the best is the one Wendy Wax has written, in which the characters turn their “lemons into lemonade,” and create something wonderful with what they have left. (The Ten Beach Road series).

      I’ve seen a couple of movies based on the real Madoff, and the best one just came out: The Wizard of Lies, with Al Pacino and Michelle Pfeiffer.

      Thanks for visiting, Susan.


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