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are taken from books I myself love, and heartily recommend you should read. Every month readers can post comments below the current review – it’s my own Book Club! Please feel free to join in and do check the archives!
~ Eloisa

 

Emily & Einstein: A Novel of Second Chances by Linda Francis Lee

Emily and Einstein Emily and Einstein is a novel that dances between genres: women’s fiction, magical realism, romance, dog lovers’ fiction (surely its own genre by now).  The novel doesn’t fit into any neat package, and Linda Francis Lee uses these incongruities, including a paranormal flourish, to deepen her story’s emotional punch.

The titular Emily is a book editor, happily married to her husband Sandy—until he dies, and she finds out that he was a serial cheater whose family immediately starts eviction proceedings against her.  She’s furious, heartbroken, and humiliated.

But Emily and Einstein is not a simple novel about marital betrayal.  Emily was stubbornly blind to the reality of her marriage: as she says, she “was never good at sensing trouble.”  She deliberately didn’t see her marriage, her husband, her life: she loved a man who didn’t exist.  She created a phantom husband, a paranormal partner.

And here’s where the fascinating magic aspect of the novel comes in:  Lee gives Emily’s scruffy little rescue dog the soul of a man: to be exactly, Sandy’s soul. Sandy-as-Einstein is a scruffy, sarcastic, and funny dog who finds it hard to come to terms with the fact he was a rabid little mutt as a human.  And Emily has her own learning to do:  she needs to understand that she is an expert at avoiding truths that stare her right in the face.  Any of us who have avoided a powerful, painful truth know the utter conviction of denial. But this plot really hinges on one question:  can Emily recognize Sandy-as-Einstein—a truly impossible truth?  Lee turns what could be a simple redemptive tale, in which Emily gets over her faithless former husband and meets a lovely guy named Max, into a real challenge:  can Emily accept a truth that her commonsense tells her cannot be true?

I loved the complexity of Emily and Einstein: the way that a touch of magic and humor makes deep sorrow and painful secrets more visible. With a nod to Pythagorus, Lee will have you believing in miracles, second chances, and a dog with the soul of a man.

You might even find yourself eyeing the family pet in a new light!

This review first appeared on the B&N Review website in 2011.

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  1. By mako boats on May 23, 2014 at 8:01 am

    mako boats…

    Eloisa’s Books to Love » Emily & Einstein: A Novel of Second Chances by Linda Francis Lee…