The Hypnotist’s Love Story

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 thinks, 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.

After reading What Alice Forgot last week, I was all set to read another Liane Moriarty book. And this one is the book everyone seemed to have read when I mentioned the author.

Unfortunately, in comparison to Alice, Ellen’s just did not measure up. Now, the writing was still just as strong–Moriarty has zero trouble there. Her storytelling ability is crazy good. I just didn’t fall quite as love with the characters as I did in the previous book.

Like Alice, this is a multi-perspective narrative. It’s third person when telling Ellen’s point of view, but then switches to first when Saskia–the ex–tells her story. Besides the POV, there’s not a change in format, so you have to pay attention to who your narrator is–and that can be a little confusing if you happen to put the book down and walk away (or answer a phone call).

Sometimes it’s difficult to tell who the villain is. While this is technically “The Hypnotist’s Love Story,” it is also very much Saskia’s. The point of all this is to show how even though you are the main person in your personal narrative, you are only a small piece in someone else’s. They may not even know you exist for more than a moment. Or you could be the bad guy. You’re not always the hero. It’s an interesting concept to think about.

The book starts slowly–dragging almost–to the point where I really didn’t want to keep going. Probably if it hadn’t been a review gift, I would have passed over it. I’m glad I finished, but it isn’t a must read.

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I received a copy of this book from Berkley Publishing via Twitter Contest.

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