Book 5 of 52: The Hypnotist’s Love Story by Liane Moriarty

I said in my review of Carl Hiassen’s Lucky You, Book 4 of 2023, that I’d be writing about another author whose work I enjoy but only pick up when I find it in Little Free Libraries. I know you were sitting on the edge of your seat to know who, so now I can reveal: it’s Liane Moriarty! Ta da! (yes I’m being silly) And the book? The Hypnotist’s Love Story.

It’s about two women who love the same man: Ellen, a hypnotherapist who falls for Patrick, a man she meets through online dating. The biggest hiccup isn’t just that a widower, or that he has a child. It’s that he has a stalker: Saskia, his ex-girlfriend, who is the second lead character in the book (the narrative flips between Saskia and Ellen).

As the relationship between Ellen and Patrick develops, Saskia’s story unfolds as well. It’s not a creepy novel though, but more of an exploration of romantic relationships, baggage, what happens when a relationship goes right, and what happens when they go very wrong.

My first impression was that The Hypnotist’s Love Story might tip too heavily into the “a man and baby can make a woman feel complete,” but then I realized that’s because the two leads are connected through a man. A steadier constant throughout — in Ellen, in Saskia, in Ellen’s mother and all their friends — is the strength and importance of female friendships. And that I can applaud.

So, yes, another aggressively fine novel, and not a bad to read one set in Australia while it’s freezing in New Jersey.

It looks like it was optioned for a US TV show by ABC but it never went far. Ah well. I’m sure Moriarty is doing just fine through the adaptions of Big Little Lies, which I read in 2017, and Nine Perfect Strangers, which was Book 48 of 2022.

By the way, the “I pick them up in Little Free Libraries” isn’t a knock to either Carl Hiassen or Moriarty. But since they write mass market fiction, and sell a lot of books, I just see a lot of them for free or for sale as used books for cheap. Such is the law of supply and demand, a thing I also write about.

Nail polish: Oh You Sing, Dance, Act and Produce? by OPI.

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Jen Miller

Jen Miller

Jen A. Miller is a an author and freelance writer. Her memoir, Running a Love Story, was a Philadelphia Inquirer best book of the year. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, SELF, Buzzfeed and the Guardian, among others.

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