Red Dress, Mar 2004, 12.95, 320 pp.
In Astoria, Long Island, Gert Healy met her future husband Marc over a college math course. They exclusively dated one another for three years until they married. They remained together for the next five years until he tragically died.
Eighteen months later, she remains in mourning for her loss, but her two best friends Erika and Hallie drag Gert out on the town. At Art's Bar, Gert meets train conductor Todd stunning her two friends that Gert meets a man and they failed to do so. As Gert and Todd see each other, she hides her widow status from him because she feels guilty that would close the book on Marc. She also realizes she is better equipped to understand men and their canon of cool than her two buddies. Erika still grieves what she gave up when she dumped happily married Ben to the point of considering stalking and Hallie plays games that males refuse to join in so they never come back. As Gert helps her pals, she wonders how Todd will react to know that the love of her life rests in a cemetery.
Fans of chick lit and deep character studies will enjoy STARTING FROM SQUARE TWO. The story line primarily focuses on Gert, but also provides insight into the failed relationships of her two best friends. Gert is a great protagonist whose optimism contrasts to the losing attitudes of Erika and Hallie. Readers get insight into Marc through rose colored memories that terrific Todd must compete against though he has no idea that he even as a rival for Gert's affections. Caren Lissner furbishes a strong contemporary drama.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner