4.5 “Hate the Sin but Love the Sinner?” Stars.
With Wall Street headlines of Ponzi schemes constantly making the news over the last few decades, my curiosity of getting an inside view at the humanity shrouding the inconceivable greed and lack of moral compass that could fuel such a disaster compelled me to read The Widow of Wall Street. And what a ride it was! I particularly enjoyed the roller coaster of emotions that fueled such disparate feelings of the heroine in this book (the wife of a former Wall Street god turned monster thief). Lovers of complex women’s fiction titles will not want to miss this tale that focuses on the lengths that someone will go to reap success, with the sobering morale being in the end that family and true love reign supreme even when competing with all the comforts that unparalleled wealth can buy.
Please note that this book is not a romance. This is a general fiction or non-romance women’s fiction title as the primary subject relates to family, including motherhood, and friendship. As most of the titles I read are romance, I felt compelled to add this warning before describing the book below.
The Wall Street Widow is a story told over numerous decades that span the heroine’s life. Starting in the 1960s when the heroine (Phoebe) is a teenager and concluding close to the present day. The story is also told from alternating chapters told both from Phoebe’s perspective and the perspective of her high school boyfriend’s turned husband (Jake).
Growing up in the 1960s in Brooklyn, Phoebe was born into a middle class family of Jewish descent. Jake, who lived in the neighborhood, had a similar upbringing, though it was tainted with his father’s past bad business dealings. Jake always knew he would do whatever it took to overcome this taint and become truly rich and acceptable in New York’s highest social circles. His obsession with appearances and need for material trophies of success fuel nearly all of his life goals and actions.
While Phoebe attended college herself and toyed with thoughts of her own career, a decision she makes, that includes her own sin, paves the way for her and Jake’s eventual union in marriage. Once married, Phoebe’s role in life completely changes and her sole objective becomes serving as Jake’s perfect hostess wife and the mother of her children. So ensues two intertwined fates as Jake climbs to impossible investment successes and Phoebe raises their two children and eventually devotes herself to charitable endeavors.
When Jake’s “miracle” investments, which seem to avoid even the most drastic of Wall Street’s downturns, begin to unravel, and the world realizes his Ponzi scheme, the search for the truth, true motivations, and friendships and people you can truly count on begins. Will Phoebe stick by Jake? And at what cost? Do you ever get a second chance at new beginnings in family, love, and careers?
All in all, this book had me mesmerized. It caused me to question just how far one will go for family, success, and self-validation. And whether a sinner’s redemption is ever truly possible. Moreover, a mother’s plight in the battle between her husband’s needs and her children’s is heartbreaking in this story. If you love books that cause you to question how you would handle the circumstances that the characters of the book are mired in, as well as, the limits of your own moral compass, then I recommend that you give the Widow of Wall Street a read!
Source: Review copy provided for review purposes.