AN EX TO GRIND
Heller makes this unlikely scenario work by carefully peeling away the layers of Mel's character as she continues to manipulate Dan's life, even while beginning a relationship with her handsome neighbor Evan. When all of her machinations come crashing down around her, she could be left with nothing—or finally have everything she wants.
Mel is an intriguing character, outwardly strong but emotionally insecure, and Dan and Evan are worthy foils for her. Heller does a fine job of balancing character against plot, creating a story that is both heart-touching and full of wisdom.
In an interesting twist, she hires a matchmaker to hook up Dan, only to have her plan succeed too well.
When he becomes the man she always hoped he'd be, she decides she wants him back.
(Jul., 384 pp., $24.95)