Saturday, September 3, 2011


Story Description : 

Emily Aulenbach is thirty-two, a lawyer married to a lawyer, living and working in Manhattan.  An idealist, she had once dreamed of representing victims of corporate abuse.  Now she spends her days in a cubicle talking on the phone with victims of tainted bottled water – and she is on the bottler’s side. 

But it isn’t only work.  It’s her sisters, her friends, even her husband, James, with whom she doesn’t connect in the way she once did.  She doesn’t connect too much in her life, period. 

Acting on impulse, Emily leaves work early one day, goes home, packs her bag, and takes off.  Groping toward the future and following her gut rather than her mind, she heads north toward a New Hampshire town nestled in the mountains.  She knows this town.  During her college years she spent a watershed summer here.  If she were to map out the turns she’s taken in life, this would be the spot where she had first gone wrong.  Painful as returning feels, she knows that if she is to right her life, she has to start here. 

My Review

Thirty-two-year-old Emily Aulenbach was a lawyer living in Gramercy Park, New York with her husband, James, who is also a lawyer.  They don’t have pets or kids because they’re trying to work to put in their hours now so they can eventually take things a bit easier later.  Emily was tired of her job and tired of her life so she ups and leaves work one morning within an hour of arriving.  Once home, she packs a bag, hops in the car and begins driving.  She has no idea where she is headed as long as it is away from New York and the busyness that is her life there. 

Emily spent a couple of nights in some small town motels and tried to think “where” she wanted/needed to go and then it struck her.  If she wanted to figure out who she was, then she needed to “… go back to the place that had set me on this course” and it wasn’t New York.  It was “Bell Valley”, nestled in a valley in the state of New Hampshire.  It had been ten years since Emily had been there and her last memory of the place was “…breaking up with Jude,” her first love.  As Emily thought of Jude, she began to cry and wondered if she was crazy for coming? 

Everyone is worried:  James, her boss, her Mom, her Dad, friends, co-workers and anyone else who has also known the same-routine Emily.  This was totally out-of-character for her, but she really needs to find out who she is and what it is that she really wants.  

Just prior to her arrival in Bell Valley, Emily received a letter from Jude telling her that he is returning to Bell Valley as well.  Will Emily be able to resist her first deep love, will she return to James or divorce him, and what about her well-paid lawyers’ job? 

As painful as it feels to be back in Bell Valley, Emily knows that if she is ever to make her life work, then she has no choice but to start here where it all began.

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