Inspired by the Bernie Madoff scandal in 2008, author Randy Susan Meyers takes us on an emotional journey inside a fictional Wall Street investment firm to witness how a Ponzi scheme could actually play out and the destruction of lives it could leave in its wake. The Widow of Wall Street begins when Phoebe is visiting her incarcerated husband, Jake, in jail. We then start at the beginning, when the couple meets as teenagers, and follow their relationship as the get married, raise children and grow a successful business and a nonprofit. Phoebe is a hardworking mother of two and a trusting wife of her high school sweetheart. Jake dreamed of financial success and dedicated himself to have the means to provide the conveniences and luxuries wealth brings. Throughout his career he was focused, put in long hours and provided well for Phoebe, their children, and others close to him. When he was charged with fraud upon the discovery of the Ponzi scheme he developed, Phoebe’s life was in shambles. So many trusting friends and colleagues lost their fortunes, businesses lost funding and families lost their nest eggs. Did Phoebe know what her husband was doing all those years?
I thoroughly enjoyed The Widow Of Wall Street. With her thoughtful, well developed characters, Randy Susan Meyers recreated the tragedy of the real life scandal from the perspective of the woman behind the criminal.
I felt Phoebe’s devastation as her life crumbled; the happiness she embodied was built on lies and Jake’s crime caused her to lose her husband, her money, family, friends, home, and her identity, essentially her entire life as it once was. She trusted him, hoped he was doing the right thing, and had been content in her life enough to choose not to inquire about things she wasn’t sure she really wanted to know about…finances and other women. This is a cautionary tale as well as a story of love, trust, success, failure, betrayal and destruction. For some, the need for success becomes a compulsion and morality can fall by the wayside. Relationships, emotions and commitment can cloud logic and truth and unfortunately the ripple effect is devastating. With suspenseful storytelling and insight into the illusion of what seemed like a storybook marriage Randy Susan Meyers definitely delivered; I highly recommend this book!
As seen on Goodreads:
What’s real in a marriage built on sand and how do you abandon a man you’ve loved since the age of fifteen?
Phoebe sees the fire in Jake Pierce’s belly from the moment they meet as teenagers in Brooklyn. Eventually he creates a financial dynasty and she trusts him without hesitation—unaware his hunger for success hides a dark talent for deception.
When Phoebe learns—along with the rest of the world—that her husband’s triumphs are the result of an elaborate Ponzi scheme her world unravels. Lies underpin her life and marriage. As Jake’s crime is uncovered, the world obsesses about Phoebe. Did she know her life was fabricated by fraud? Did she partner with her husband in hustling billions from pensioners, charities, and CEOs? Was she his accomplice in stealing from their family and neighbors?
Debate rages as to whether love and loyalty blinded her to his crimes or if she chose to live in denial. While Jake is trapped in the web of his own deceit, Phoebe is faced with an unbearable choice. Her children refuse to see her if she remains at their father’s side, but abandoning Jake, a man she’s known since childhood, feels cruel and impossible.
From Brooklyn to Greenwich to Manhattan, from penthouse to prison, with tragic consequences rippling well beyond Wall Street, The Widow of Wall Street exposes a woman struggling to redefine her life and marriage as everything she thought she knew crumbles around her.
My dreams of justice simmered at the fantastically broadminded Camp Mikan, where I went from camper to counselor, culminating in a high point when (with the help of my strongly Brooklyn-accented singing voice), I landed the role of Adelaide in the staff production of “Guys and Dolls.”
Soon I was ready to change the world, starting with my protests at Tilden High and City College of New York, until I left to pursue the dream in Berkeley, California, where I supported myself by selling candy, nuts, and ice cream in Bartons of San Francisco. Then, world-weary at too-tender an age, I returned to New York, married, and traded demonstrations for diapers.
While raising two daughters, I tended bar, co-authored a nonfiction book on parenting, ran a summer camp, and (in my all-time favorite job, other than writing) helped resurrect and run a community center.
Once my girls left for college, I threw myself deeper into social service and education by working with batterers and victims of domestic violence. I’m certain my novels are imbued with all the above, as well as my journey from obsessing over bad boys to loving a good man.
Many things can save your life–children who warm your heart, the love of a good man, a circle of wonderful friends, and a great sister. After a tumultuous start in life, I’m lucky enough to now have all these things. I live in Boston with my husband, where I live by the words of Gustave Flaubert: “Be regular and orderly in your life, so that you may be violent and original in your work.”