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Emily and Einstein: A Novel of Second Chances Hardcover – March 1, 2011

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press; First Edition edition (March 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312382189
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312382186
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.5 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (196 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #769,519 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Product Description

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? 

Amazon Exclusive: A Q&A with Author Linda Francis Lee

Q: What made you write a book about an unfaithful husband?

A: My primary goal wasn't to write about an unfaithful husband, it was to write about a man who lived a lie--and he didn't just live a lie to the world, he lied to himself. I wanted to tell a story about someone who found it easier to blame others for what was wrong in his life rather than take responsibility and attempt to help make it right. No life is perfect, but frequently it's easier to blame others or external circumstances than take responsibility.

Q: Why did you decide to write a book with a dog as the main character? Are you yourself a "dog person"?

A: At the time I was plotting the book, I had been thinking a lot about our dog Sophie who had passed away several years ago. For so long just thinking about her broke my heart. But a shift had started to happen and the memories started making me smile or even laugh. Sophie had so much personality. If she was mad at me, she ignored me. If I was sad about something, she leaned up against me until I felt better. I know it sounds crazy, but she felt like a little person, a sometimes crotchety person! So with all this thinking about Sophie, one day when I came through a tunnel in Central Park and saw the statue of Balto the dog, the pieces came together. A dog has to be a character in this book, and not just any dog, a wonderful but crotchety dog...and Einstein came fully to life!

Q: At certain points throughout the story, Einstein's animal instincts kick in, both confusing and inconveniencing Sandy. Was there a reason to keep this animal influence involved in Sandy's transformation?

A: I had become obsessed with Cesar Millan's THE DOG WHISPERER and to paraphrase Cesar, The problem is with the humans, not with the dogs. In watching the show I was always amazed at how owners learn to be better humans by learning how to deal with their dogs. As a result, between my memories of Sophie, and seeing Balto, then add in Cesar, I realized it had to be through Einstein the dog's instincts that Sandy Portman learns how to be a true man.

Q: Throughout the book the theme of "second chances" comes up again and again. What do second chances mean to you? Why did you want to explore this idea?

A: I think most of us have moments in our lives that we would like to do over. While we can't get an actual "do over", I love the idea that we can get another chance to make things right, or find another chance to achieve a dream. Second chances are all about having hope, and it's hope that gets us out of bed in the morning.

Q: As Emily turns her life around, she goes through several changes, from finding new love and beginning to exercise, to taking risks at work and attempting to discover more about her family and her own upbringing. Is there one aspect of her reawakening that you find to be the most important or groundbreaking?

A: I think everyone has a vision of who they want to be, or who they think they are. Generally the image we hold of ourselves is an appealing version. The fact is, who can afford to live with an unappealing vision of themselves. What I liked most about Emily was that she was willing to look at who she was, and when the truth started to unravel her, she held on, fought against falling apart, then moved forward in an attempt to be someone better. And through that (in addition to through Einstein) her husband sees an example of someone trying to be their best. It both helps him and makes him angry.

Q: Once Emily stops running from the things in life that scare her, what did this represent to the storyline as a whole?

A: I think any time we do something that is difficult--something that we think we can't do--it strengthens us. It gives us a foundation on which to reflect back when the next challenge hits. A sort of: Err, this new challenge is impossible! But I did accomplish the other thing, so maybe I can do this too. Growing up I was never particularly serious about anything. But when I turned twenty, I realized life was passing me by. I started doing anything I didn't think I could do. I focused on school. I took probability and statistic courses, geology courses. I mountain climbed, I repelled, I set out to run a marathon. I even started to write. All these years later, I still push myself to do things that are out of my comfort zone. And every morning I get up and I go into the park to run because making it to the top of Heartbreak Hill, or finishing a run when I am surrounded by snow, reminds me that I can get to the top of a hill and nothing but fear holds me back. Emily learns who she really is by pushing herself beyond what she believes are her own limits.

From Publishers Weekly

Lee (The Devil in Junior League) returns with a quick yet extremely predictable story of betrayal and atonement. Sandy Portman and Emily Barlow seem to lead a perfect life. Sandy is a successful businessman from an old-money family, and Emily, beautiful and smart, is quickly gaining respect in her career as a book editor. But Sandy is keeping a few secrets from Emily, and is hit by a car and killed before he has a chance to reveal the truth. In a Dickensian turn of events, he's given an otherworldly chance to make amends as a dog named Einstein. Emily adopts Einstein and he bears witness as she discovers Sandy's former duplicity, causing her life to fall apart and leaving Einstein to figure out how to save her so that he can save himself. These turns of events also reveal the novel's most frustrating aspect: an utter lack of surprise. (Mar.)
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

More About the Author

When I'm not writing, I'm exploring NYC. Come along for the ride as I search out the best spots in the Big Apple! Bestselling author of EMILY & EINSTEIN: A Novel of Second Chances. THE GLASS KITCHEN: A Novel of Sisters out June 17, 2014 www.lindaleebooks.com

Customer Reviews

Great story and very well written.
Berry Bright
Ms. Lee also did a great job of making the secondary characters come to life, a talent that not all authors have.
Loves to Read
Loved the book, it was a really different twist of a story.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

31 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Jane on March 1, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Emily and Einstein is an amazing book. I wasn't sure what to think when I started, but I haven't loved a book this much in a long time. It made me laugh and tear up. I cheered for Emily as she worked to turn her life around. I adored little Einstein with his man's soul who made me laugh out loud, and I fell in love with Max. It's a story about holding onto hope and finding redemption. It's about allowing yourself to fall in love with the right man when the wrong one keeps holding on. But mostly it's about a woman holding on to hope and faith, and finding herself. Emily and Einstein is an amazing, magical love story.

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24 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Samantha J on May 8, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Sandy Portman is ready to finally tell his wife Emily that he wants a divorce. Before he gets that chance, he is hit by a car and dies. Sandy is granted a second chance, and his soul now resides in a dog, which is soon adopted by none other than his wife. Emily finds an odd comfort in the little white dog, which she names Einstein. Emily, an editor at a publishing house and volunteer at the animal shelter, needs comfort after her husband's untimely death. And even more comfort after she is being evicted from her family home. Sandy's family comes from old-money wealth, and even though Sandy promised her their home, he never got around to changing his will. As if that betrayal wasn't enough, as Emily is going through Sandy's office, she stumbles across numerous affairs her husband had while they married. Emily is devastated, and relies on Einstein to help keep her spirits up. She doesn't realize that Einstein is now her husband, who is being forced to watch the pain he inflicted upon his wife play out. Can Sandy help Emily move on from the mistakes that he made in his human life? Will it grant him a second chance, or will be destined to stay a dog forever- or simply fade away?

Emily and Einstein by Linda Francis Lee was quite interesting. The book is written both in Emily and Einstein/Sandy's point of view, which I think was needed to understand both characters fully. While I loved Emily's character- a hardworking, faithful wife, good spirit, I truly hated Sandy. It was to the point where I almost wanted to stop reading because he turned me off so much. He took no regard for any of the mistakes he made, always blaming someone else- usually Emily- for the actions he took in life. It was disgusting. The ending saved this book for me though.
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43 of 55 people found the following review helpful By J. Anderson on September 11, 2012
Format: Hardcover
I was so excited at the premise of this book. As a young widow myself, a dog lover and an avid reader of chick lit, I figured I couldn't miss with this one. Instead, I was really disappointed. I hated the characters, I hated the way the wife dealt with her grief and her problems and while I was willing to suspend disbelief enough to think the husband would be reincarnated and turn up as a dog adopted by his wife, I could not suspend my disbelief at the actions of all the characters. Why would Emily go back to work days after her husband's death? Why would everyone at her publishing house treat her so poorly following the death of her husband? Why would the mother in law try to out her from the apartment on the day of her husband's funeral? And the husband, even as a dog...well, he deserved to be punched in the throat. And, I wasn't particularly fond of the "Old Man" who put him there either. It was all just silly, weird, contrived, and unbelievable (and I don't mean the actual story line, but the characters, the way they behaved and they way they were described).
To make matters worse, the writing was dry and almost embarrassing. It read like something written by a mediocre student in a creative writing course. A security guard was described as "a full-figured African American woman." I mean, really, how boring and amateurish.
I'm usually not a book basher, but I was so completely disappointed in this one that I had warn others...don't believe all the five star reviews. This was not worth the money.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By writeoncindy on September 1, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Put a picture of a puppy on the cover of a novel and you have me ooh-ing and aah-ing. Place a cute little white fuzzy terrier, on a bench looking sweetly back at me, on the cover of a book by best-selling author, Linda Francis Lee and I'm pushing ahead in line to make a purchase... just kidding, sort of!
EMILY & EINSTEIN ... A Novel of Second Chances, is Linda Francis Lee's latest novel about relationships, and once again they're broken down to their inner cores - the successful sister and the flakey one, the condescending mother-in-law and the slighted husband's wife. What Lee has done successfully in her previous twenty novels, she accomplishes in EMILY & EINSTEIN and will keep you up all night flipping the pages to the very end. She gets to the heart of the matter with her character's feelings and emotions and makes us care and think about them long after the novel has come to a conclusion.
Emily and her husband, Sandy Portman are beautiful and rich, they live a fascinating, sophisticated life in New York City's famous Dakota building on the Upper Westside.
One night on his way to meet Emily, Sandy dies in a tragic accident. The funeral isn't even over and Emily finds out she's being evicted from her apartment. But worse, she discovers it's her husband's family who is evicting her in her time of grief. On top of that, she discovers her marriage is a mountain of lies. Emily is forced on a journey to find out who her husband really was, what her life really is and all the same time having a sneaking feeling he's not really gone. Emily finds comfort in a loveable furry mutt she rescues from the pound and names the pup, Einstein. And into her life comes an unexpected gorgeous new neighbor.
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