The Hypnotist’s Love Story (2011) is a 458 page novel written by the amazingly talented Australian author Liane Moriarty. To give a bit of a background story, I’m noting that I have actually read this book twice already since I first purchased it in June 2016. I was sitting in Sydney airport waiting for my flight to Paris when I remembered I needed to by an electric power adapter. I walked into the store across from the gate where I was waiting, and I saw the book. I picked it up and purchased it because I had previously read The Husband’s Secret and I was absolutely enthralled by this amazing author I had to give this book a go.
This book impressed me just as much as The Husband’s Secret had a few years earlier. The story is centred around three main characters: Ellen, a thirty-five year old Hypnotist living in her late grandparents beach-side home. Patrick, a widower working as a Surveyor in Sydney whilst being a full-time single dad to his 8 year old son Jack. Saskia, the town planner ex-girlfriend of Patrick who turns into a disgruntled yet harmless stalker of Patrick and his son. There are also many other exciting and extremely well adapted characters in the novel such as Ellen’s best friend Julia and Patrick’s high school mate “stinky”.
When the chapter is being described from Ellen’s point of view it is written as third person narrative, but when the story is centred around Saskia and her thoughts, it is written in the first person. Without a doubt, the character development in this novel was absolutely mind blowing.
Positives and Negatives:
- The information about Hypnotism and how hypnosis works as a career was extremely well researched by Moriarty, it also made me consider undertaking a few hypnosis sessions to see what I would come up with in a trance-like state. Being a Sydney local myself, it was
- Moriarty’s ability to portray each and every character in a different light shows her incredible writing talent and ability. There is a strong defined difference between, for example, the eight year old boy, Ellen’s mother, her friend Julia, and Patrick’s young adult brother. By the end of the novel, you know the characters so well you’re thinking to yourself “well that is just so Julia!”.
- Being a Sydney-sider myself it was easy to relate and even recognised some of the places she describes or visits.
- Saskia was my favourite character. It’s a difficult task to make the reader feel empathy with a seemingly crazy stalker ex-girlfriend, but Moriarty’s writing ability actually makes you understand where she is coming from and why she is doing what she’s doing.
- Like every other Moriarty novel, in the end everything connects and she doesn’t leave any stones unturned. There are no annoying mysteries and you feel satisfied with the ending and how the story developed.
- I must admit that the blurb on the back of the book made it seem like so much more of a crime or mystery novel, when in fact I would only classify it as chick-lit or comedy even, it was extremely light-hearted and there wasn’t a dramatic scene at all. The whole time I was slightly smiling to myself.
- Patrick was a bloody bore! I couldn’t understand why Ellen had fallen so deeply in love with him and I was even wondering to myself if she was just forcing herself to stay with this guy because she felt like she was getting old!!.
- The sub-plot of Ellen’s mother and father was deeply underwhelming. Sometimes I felt that those chapters dragged on for too long and sometimes found myself skim reading them.
- Although usually I love Moriarty’s metaphors because they are SO particular to her writing style, in The Hypnotist’s Love Story I felt that too often she was comparing every situation to another through metaphor “It was like….” was used so many times throughout the novel I sometimes found it was wildly unnecessary.
In conclusion, I would give this book a solid 4.3/5. I know, it’s a strange rating but I the story was grabbing, exciting, engaging, humorous and extremely unique. The descriptions, character development, story, vocabulary and jokes were just the perfect melange for a nearly perfect score. The deductions come from the above mentioned negatives, whereby I feel like Patrick who was one of the central characters had a very average personality and could have been so much more interesting.
An amazing Moriarty story, would DEFINITELY recommend for a light hearted read. Let me know in the comments if you agree, and give me your opinion.