Many people in new relationships tiptoe around discussion of past love.
The Hypnotist’s Love Story is the 4th novel by Australian novelist, Liane Moriarty. The hypnotist is Ellen O’Farrell, actually a hypnotherapist who helps clients deal with addictions, phobias and confidence issues. Ellen falls in love with Patrick, but before the relationship goes far, he warns her he is being stalked by his ex-girlfriend, Saskia. Ellen finds that she is more intrigued than frightened by this, and in fact, would love to meet her. Saskia, however, has been posing as one of Ellen’s clients, and has a more intimate knowledge of Ellen’s relationship with Patrick than either of them is aware. As events unfold, Ellen, who believes herself to be an upstanding, moral, compassionate person, finds herself tempted to act unethically. She also discovers, to her surprise, that she has to work at her relationship with Patrick. Ellen is perhaps a little over-analytical, and her thoughts certainly provide some humour in the story. Saskia’s tale is told in the first person, giving the reader the stalker’s perspective on this sort of behaviour, and this was a very interesting and powerful aspect of the story. Moriarty gives us an imaginative plot that explores hypnotism and stalking (of course), as well as touching on addiction, obsession, internet dating, falling in love, professional ethics, the power of the press, knitting and the effects of pregnancy hormones. There are characters to love, hate, admire and laugh at, and the dialogue is just what you hear at the local café, bar or supermarket. Ellen had me snickering, giggling and laughing out loud from the start. This romance with a hint of psychological thriller had me hooked from the first page, and I look forward to reading more of Liane Moriarty’s work.