Release Date: March 1st, 2011
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Source: Paperbook, Borrowed from a Friend
Buy the Book: Amazon
My rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Goodreads.com: 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?
Beginning this review, with so many aspects of this book on my mind, is tough, so I'm just going to attempt to start at the beginning.
Sandy Portman is on his way to tell his wife, Emily, that he wants a divorce, when he's hit and killed. He is a pompous, arrogant, disdainful, jerk of a man, and a terrible husband. In Sandy's desperate attempt to stay alive, he makes a deal with the "Old Man" to stay, but the "Old Man" requires that the deal be man on his terms. The "Old Man" places Sandy in the present as a wiry, ugly, even hideous dog. The purpose of Einstein aka Sandy is to save his wife, to make her whole again. If he succeeds, he will be great, but if he fails, he will fade away to nothing. His task becomes impossible when Emily's unruly sister moves in, Emily's job as a senior editor in sambles, Sandy's mother attempting to evict her from her home, and her new love interest Max.
Emily and Einstein/Sandy are complete opposites. Where Emily is happy and successful, Sandy was miserable, and he blamed her for his misery. Einstein/Sandy starts to realize that despite everything, Emily could make it on her own, and achieving the desires and dreams that Sandy never could.
I won't give away the ending - but let's just say I *really* loved this book. Of course, being a dog lover helps, and seeing the progression of Sandy's realizations of the things he did wrong in his life, and trying to make them right by using Einstein was just cute. I think that dogs are more human-like than people give them credit for, and I had to laugh often at the actions of Einstein. Our dog Chloe is a lot like him when she's upset with one of us or her feelings are hurt. She sulks, she sometimes does things out of spite, and she's got the funniest personality ever. Sometimes I wonder if she's a human with four legs.
Either way - if you are a dog lover, if you enjoy books with strong female leads, and if you enjoy seeing people's lives work out for the better, you'll have to read Emily and Einstein by Linda Francis Lee. For me personally, this is the first Linda Francis Lee book I've read, but I'm intrigued by her writing style. She has many other published books, so I plan to check her out.
I hope you will too!