Many people in new relationships tiptoe around discussion of past love. Everyone wants to present themselves in the best possible light, and as a 35-year-old single woman, Ellen O’Farrell has seen her share of baggage (and carried her own). But when Ellen learns that her new boyfriend Patrick Scott’s former live-in girlfriend is now honest-to-goodness stalking him, well, she isn’t put off. She’s intrigued.
Of course, Ellen doesn’t yet know that Patrick’s ex, Saskia, is also intrigued by her—so much so that Saskia has become one of Ellen’s hypnotherapy patients.
As Liane Moriarty expertly switches between Ellen and Saskia’s points of view, Saskia slowly becomes a sympathetic character. It’s difficult to understand what would drive a woman to follow her ex-boyfriend everywhere, schedule regular meetings with his new girlfriend and leave notes on his car. But though we can’t necessarily understand her actions, anyone who has survived a broken heart will come to understand Saskia’s motivation. She loved Patrick and his son, Jack. She practically raised Jack, who was small when his mother died. Her life was wrapped up in them: “I didn’t have enough other people in my life to cover the loss of this many people at once.”
As in What Alice Forgot, Moriarty’s best-selling and most recent novel, The Hypnotist’s Love Story explores tangled relationships that extend beyond romantic complications. Both books are engaging, easy reads with layers of depth. In The Hypnotist’s Love Story, Moriarty has created an emotional and intriguing ride.