Review: The Widow of Wall Street

SYNOPSIS from goodreads:

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.

Review:                                                                                                                                                   2 stars **

The black and gold cover draws the eye and really could be used us a metaphor for the whole book. Not all the glitters is gold, either in the case of Jack and Phoebe’s life or in the execution of this book.To me The Widow of Wall Street seemed to lack any real pizzazz, half way through and the backstory is still the narrative. We are working in and around the ponzi scheme without touching on the afterwords which I assumed was going to be the heart of this story.

Jack presents some color to the story with his women on the side and family/friends involved in his business. He is solely focused upon this business, especially the part he can’t escape (for some reason that I just don’t understand) the “club”. Jack’s family matters to him seemingly only in relation to how they reflect on his business, the time they take him away from said business, and how they can be used to benefit the business. This business is the source of his anxiety and most of the story line despite the fact it is being billed as a focus Phoebe’s life and her struggle to survive when their world is ripped to pieces.

Phoebe though, is everything I imagine a rich bored housewife to be and nothing more, until far after the halfway point of the novel. She take up pet projects when her life allows and rotates her life around Jack’s desires. She sees nothing beyond what is on the surface until the story of her husband’s ponzi scheme is front page news. In 40 odd years you never had one question or weird feeling about what your husband was doing? I just don’t buy it Phoebe.

The slowness of development and climax within this book left me without much attachment to the characters. Going in I knew not to like Jack. Phoebe was such a doormat (until after a major novel twist) that she seemed to have no personality. This just didn’t feel very real to me.


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