The Hypnotist’s Love Story by Liane Moriarty

Sympathy for the stalker

The Hypnotist’s Love Story
by Liane Moriarty
Putnam | Hardcover, 414 pages
Being stalked in real life is never a fun thing (understatement of the year); in fact, it’s actually a very frightening thing. The idea that someone out there watches every move you make, follows you around and sends you messages in one form or another, can literally delibitate you – to a point that you confine yourself in the sanctity of your home. You’ve pretty much handed your life to someone else’s hands with or without your consent. Because that’s what happens when you have a stalker. You lose control of everything – your power and your life. You’re constantly looking over your shoulder in fear, on watch for when that person would strike.

Liane Moriarty created an enlightening story about hypnotism and stalking – two subjects that I must admit have not really been something that I’d knowingly or intentionally read. The author was uncannily adversed in both subjects, spotlighting the psyches of both characters. Ellen (hypnotist) is an incredibly perceptive, astute character who sees through her clients via hypnotherapy.  She’s able to dig down deep into the minds of her clients and uncover their hidden fears and desires. But with all her insightfulness, she’s unable to find a stable relationship for herself. Until she meets a widower who’s got the mother-load of baggages: he’s got himself a stalker.

In Saskia, we see a very disturbed, lovelorn woman who can’t get over Patrick. But I saw a lonely woman in need of someone to justify her existence. Because without Patrick and his son Jack, she’s no one; that if they don’t exist in her life, she doesn’t exist at all. She’s pitiful and sad and she would make you feel a mutual understanding that what she was doing was okay. To read how she justifies her act of stalking should disturb a reader but all I could feel for her was sympathy.

The romance between Patrick and Ellen was a bit cold (as some Adult fictions tend to be). It’s a mature, realistic relationship that doesn’t sizzle with every look or every touch (this is not Erotica, for heaven’s sake!). It was a progression that was both slow and too fast at the same time (pregnancy brought on a marriage proposal and cohabitation in a span of a few weeks).  Oddly enough, I picked up this book because of what the title implies and found myself completely involved in Saskia’s story and not at all missing the romance. I looked forward to her reaching rock bottom just so she could wake up and realize she’s wasting her life. But the thing about Saskia is, I never felt anger or disgust for what she was doing. I felt embarrassed. Patrick is the one who actually angered me because he didn’t feel the need to put a stop on Saskia’s madness.

This book was surprisingly addictive and very intuitive. If you’ve ever found yourself interpreting your partner’s words and actions, you will find a kindred spirit in Ellen. This woman knows a thing or two about subliminal meanings and hidden motives.

My rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

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