Ellen Dempsey, protagonist of Emily Griffin's Love the One You Are With, has it all. Not only is she happy in life, but she has an adoring new husband, Andy, who seems to bring out only the best in her. A successful lawyer, Andy also happens to be the brother of Ellen's best friend, Margot. Ellen even gets along well with Andy's family, which is especially important to her considering that she lost her mother at a young age. On top of it all, Ellen is enjoying her work as a professional photographer.
However, not long after she marries Andy, Ellen runs into an old flame, Leo, who by all accounts is the one who got away. Despite having her heart broken by him, Ellen never stopped thinking about Leo in the eight years since they broke up; seeing him again leaves her with a disconcerted feeling. Leo follows Ellen into a coffee shop, and the two catch up. During their chance encounter, Ellen begins to question if she is truly over Leo of if she is still harboring feelings for him.
When Andy's career necessitates a move from Ellen's beloved New York to Atlanta, their marriage is strained. Despite being married and at a point in her life when she should feel comfortable settling down, Ellen instead feels as though she is standing at a major crossroads. Sadly, Ellen feels as though she cannot risk confiding in her best friend, because Margot is also her sister-in-law.
Ellen Dempsey is a relatable protagonist whose near compulsive introspection and speculation are characteristic of many self-critical women. Furthermore, her need to question whether she is really over a previous relationship is a familiar theme. As happens for many people the world over, Ellen's encounter with a former lover leaves her wondering, "What if...."
Published in 2008, Love the One You Are With is Emily Griffin's fourth novel. Her other books include Something Borrowed, Something Blue, and Baby Proof, all of which were on the New York Times best-seller list upon their release. Scheduled for publication in 2010, Griffin's next novel will be titled Heart of the Matter.