The Hypnotist's Love Story by Liane Moriarty
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Ellen O'Farrell is a professional hypnotherapist who works out of the eccentric beachfront home she inherited from her grandparents. It's a nice life, except for her tumultuous relationship history. She's stoic about it, but at this point, Ellen wouldn't mind a lasting one. When she meets Patrick, she's optimistic. He's attractive, single, employed, and best of all, he seems to like her back. Then comes that dreaded moment: He thinks they should have a talk.
Braced for the worst, Ellen is pleasantly surprised. It turns out that Patrick's ex-girlfriend is stalking him. Ellen things, Actually, that's kind of interesting. She's dating someone worth stalking. She's intrigued by the woman's motives. In fact, she'd even love to meet her.
Ellen doesn't know it, but she already has.
Review by Brittany:
As a fan of Moriarty, I have collected all of her books to read, so I anticipated enjoying this one. What I didn't expect was to find it to be one of the most honest insights into an ending relationship that I've ever read.
The author really made me empathize with Patrick's stalker, Saskia. She does this in part by making Saskia's sections of the book first person and Ellen's sections of the book third person. This helped me relate to Saskia on a certain level at which I didn't with Ellen. Saskia is also written as a heartbroken character, one who felt completely blindsided by the ending of her relationship, and she felt as if her whole life was snapped away from her when Patrick left her and took his toddler son with him.
Ellen finds herself dying to know more about Saskia. Instead of viewing this woman as a threat, she looks at her as a fascination. Even with her relationship with Patrick progressing, she finds herself unable to focus on how Saskia's behavior is affecting him. As a reader, I found this incredibly interesting because I had the same struggle. I think this also comes down to the way the novel was written, as if the author intended for readers to relate to Saskia instead of feeling sympathy for Patrick.
Although the book deals with these heavy themes, it was still light-hearted at times. There were moments that made me laugh and roll my eyes, despite the intensity of the focus of the novel. I think there's something to admire about an author who creates a villain that readers can relate to and even sympathize with.
Overall, I adored this book. I think it gives an amazingly accurate view of the feelings a breakup can cause and the crazy things we all think about doing when we are the ones left behind. I also thought the writing was beautifully done, and all of the characters were interesting. This is a fab example of women's literature that I definitely recommend.
For a while, each had been the person who knew her best, who spoke to her every single day, who knew where she was at any particular time, who would have sat in the front row at her funeral should she have tragically died.
"That's what I hate most about this thing with my ex. She's in control. She affects my life and I don't get any say in it and there's not a thing I can do about it."
This was the way the world worked. Relationships ended.
The birth of a first baby. One of those everyday events that only seem incredible to the people involved.
The oddest things came out of her mouth when she was feeling awkward.
It's strange how I still feel like I'm the mother of a toddler, even though he's a schoolboy now and he doesn't belong to me anymore. It's like I'm frozen in time.