Saturday, March 12, 2011

Emily and Einstein-Linda Francis Lee

He was a man who didn’t deserve a second chance. But he needed one…

Emily and her husband Sandy Portman seemed to live a gracious if busy life in an old-world, Upper West Side apartment in the famous Dakota building.  But one night on the way to meet Emily, Sandy dies in a tragic accident.  The funeral isn't even over before Emily learns she is on the verge of being evicted from their apartment.  But worse than the possibility of losing her home, Emily is stunned when she discovers that her marriage was made up of lies. 
Suddenly Emily is forced on a journey to find out who her husband really was . . . all the while feeling that somehow he isn't really gone.  Angry, hurt, and sometimes betrayed by loving memories of the man she lost, Emily finds comfort in a scruffy dog named Einstein.  But is Einstein's seemingly odd determination that she save herself enough to make Emily confront her own past?  Can he help her find a future—even after she meets a new man? ( Synopsis from Barnes &

I am a big Linda Francis Lee fan. Her previous novels combine romance and humor and are the kind you say-oh that was cute- when you are done reading them.  Not so this novel, which makes you  think about your preception of people. The premise- wife cheated on, nasty in laws, husband trying for redemption, has been done before. This book, however, took it to another level. Emily has been cheated on, but she was so oblivious to problems in the marriage that you want to give her a good talking to. Sandy, the deceased husband, is so self absorbed you don't feel sorry for his death in the beginning of the book. Sandy's mother is a bit of a stereotype, but in this book it works.

All of the characters have to grow up and see the reality of the world around them. Emily has a chance to become a person who confronts her problems rather than creating a happy little fantasy world. She gets a second chance for happiness and it's based on a real understanding of her feelings and what the other person is all about.  Sandy has to learn that he was so selfish that he caused his own unhappiness and didn't care about causing other's as well. Being reincarnated as a dog is perfect because he was a dog as a human! Appropriately, he becomes more human as a dog than he was as a man. It's a hard lesson for him to learn and he doesn't get it right the first couple of times. And, we learn why the nasty  MIL became that way.

I have to say that this book made me cry. Even though the characters were not totally sympathetic, I found myself rooting for them- even the nasty  MIL. The ending was satisfying on many levels.

Library note: This book is available in the Adult New Book Section at RPL. I recommend reading  The Ex-Debutante by the same author-it's hilarious!

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