BOOK CLUB: Why did Ellen change her mind about Leo?


Ellen seems like an intelligent woman who has everything together: loving husband, great friends, exciting career, etc. There's no doubt that most of us would love to be in her position.

Ellen's relationship with Leo was clearly all about lust and there was definitely no growth in the relationship. In fact, Leo states he doesn't believe in being with someone "forever". Even the most sensible woman would think twice about getting back with someone like him, so why did Ellen go back?

Ever since she bumped into Leo, she kept justifying her reasons to see him. Some would say that Ellen's true love is Leo, but I really believe it
was a very passionate relationship that was bound to fail. The thought of being with Leo clouded her judgments; she perceived lust as love. Perhaps she was in denial and if her sister didn't give her a wake up call, she would have ended up with a failed marriage.

So, why do you think Ellen went back with Leo? Would you stay Leo is her one true love?
Jul 20, 2009 @ 02:19 pm

18 Replies

Ali de Bold

I don't think Leo is her True Love

I think "true love" is more than just lust. What she has with Leo is lust. True Love is about the day to day and loving each other for a life time despite the ups and downs. Think of a sweet older couple who still holds hands. That is true love.

I think her connection with Leo is purely chemical/physical, whereas what she has with Andy is real, long lasting and with a good foundation.

I think she went back to Leo because she confused her attraction with real love and because of the lack of closure in that relationship coupled with the frustrations with her new home/life.
Jul 20, 2009 @ 02:49 pm


I think that Ellen was just in a very vulnerable place at the moment, and Leo saw that and took advantage (although she as well as others is responsible for her own behavior). Ellen's husband is a very successful attorney, came from a great home, well liked....Ellen lost her mother at an early age and had to struggle a bit to 'find herself'. Maybe she felt like she wasn't 'good' enough....??

Also, I think that she really needed closure...and when Leo broke up with her, she didn't get the 'answers' she needed from him. Margot not telling Ellen that Leo came back for her was just WRONG...and I think if Ellen had the opportunity to see Leo when he did come back all those years ago, she would've let the relationship 'run its course'.

Ultimately, Ellen knew that she belonged with Andy...she just wandered off her path for a bit.

Jul 20, 2009 @ 05:46 pm


I definitely think there was some unfinished business between Leo and Ellen. I guess she needed to get out of the system at the cost of her marriage. She never really let Leo go which is why she kept finding reasons to go back to him. Of course she could have handled this "closure" in a better way than to cheat on poor Andy! Sometimes I would get so irritated by Ellen's choices. It was obvious what was happening, but she was rationalizing everything!
Jul 21, 2009 @ 09:27 am

Editor's note

The title of this thread has been altered to remove spoiler content. Sorry for any confusion!
Jul 21, 2009 @ 09:58 am

It's those feelings...

that even though you are in a good place in your life you get those feelings flooding in from the past. I can completely relate to Ellen about her feelings towards Leo. Although she is in a loving and committed relationship and has everything she could possibly want in life she had a blast from the past sort of feeling where the excitement and emotions came flooding back to her. It's hard to ignore and it often leaves your mind running wild.

This happens to me all the time and it's with the same man from my past. Even though I am living with the man I love and am completely committed and confident in our love and relationship I always get feelings and emotional over an ex that I bump into every so often. I don't think this person is my soul mate and I would never in a heartbeat leave my bf for this man but when I am around him and talk to him things just sort of feel more... intense.

I feel that for Ellen she just needed to feel those feelings to make her realize that she's got a great thing going. It's a big and hard learning experience but I can relate so much to Ellen and I was so in it for Andy the whole book. I never once had a doubt that she picked the wrong man.
Jul 21, 2009 @ 08:53 pm


It seemed that most of Ellen's memories about Leo were sexual or physical. They had an intense relationship, but I got the impression it was very much based on lust. She didn't seem to remember the sweet things he did for her, or how much he cared about her and showed her that he cared... it was mostly about how compatible they were in bed. I believe Leo was on of the first people Ellen slept with, so when they were so "in sync" in the bed room she may have misinterpreted that as "in sync" in life. But even in her memories of Leo there were signs that he was not as supportive, or caring, or devoted as Andy is as her husband.

Ellen's relationship with Leo ended abruptly and without clear cause. There was no real closure for her and she clung to the memories that attracted her to him. She ran into Leo at the cusp of big changes in her own life. Changes that uprooted her life, her world and exposed some cracks in her otherwise wonderful relationship with Andy. Cracks that, perhaps seemed bigger than they were with everything that was going on around her. Had she not seen Leo that day in the intersection, perhaps she would have been distracted by something else. She might have focused on work, or thought about having a child, or taking a vacation. But instead Leo kept coming to her thoughts... which she took as a sign of something it wasn't. This was exasperated by the fact the Leo got her a great photography gig and manipulated the scenario so that he was with her on one of the biggest shoots of her career.

In dealing with the changes in her life and revelations about her past relationship with Leo (he went back for her, he still cared for her... etc) Ellen's judgment was clouded and prospect of "what could have been" seemed appealing and desirable to the point of risking her happy life with Andy. If she had been in a better place with her move, had more friends in Atlanta, was busier with work and not just sitting around her huge house all day, Ellen may have rationalized more clearly and remembered that Leo was never in favour of the "forever" theory, marriage was not his "thing" and that he was, himself, betraying his girlfriend to pursue Ellen. None of these character traits, (let alone the ones he displayed during their relationship years ago) are something you want to find in the person you are leaving your husband for!!?

Clouded by lust, disillusioned by Leo's "charm" and sex appeal, and dealing with an huge upheaval in her own life, Ellen's mind wandered and she followed. She kept rationalizing her actions and making excuses for herself that became more and more transparent, and she probably knew that on some level.

I think she made the right choice... eventually. Ellen and Andy will be happy and hopfully have a stronger, more open relationship, as far as communicating their feelings and concerns to one another.

We all know Leo's and Andy's. At least I do. I haven't met MY Andy yet, but I can't wait till I do. Leo's seem to be more common. Slick-talkers, who are too good-looking for their own good (and know it!) but, are ultimately not marriage material. The trick is to not get confused by the charm and mesmerised by the lust; and keep your head about you when you life is going through it's own bumps.
Jul 21, 2009 @ 09:02 pm

Here's the thing...

"Closure" - a load of crap! If a relationship has ended (especially years ago), it's ended, that's all there is to it. Obviously Ellen had lusty feelings toward Leo. Their relationship seemed to be purely physical. She knew he wasn't a "forever" kind of guy and they had way too many ups and downs for it to last. She was confused about her life, not getting attention from Andy, and that was ultimately why she thought she was having real feelings for Leo - definitely no excuse, in my mind. She finally came to her senses in the end, but I feel that it would have taken more than just her sister saying something to change her mind, and hoped the author would have elaborated on Ellen's change of mind a little bit more.

All in all, this book frustrated the heck out of me. Maybe it's my conservative upbringing, but what the heck was Ellen thinking. Anyone else dislike the main character as much as me?
Jul 21, 2009 @ 10:43 pm


Ellen realized that leo hasn't changed at all,and whether or not margot had told her about leo coming back to look for her,it wouldn't have made a difference.She realized that it wasn't fate that brought them back together,they were not meant to be.Before ellen ran into leo ,she was happy with andy,leo just clouded her judgment.

Jul 23, 2009 @ 12:04 am

Ellen struggled with insecurities and lack of closure

misschickie, I LOVE your description of true love a "sweet older couple who still holds hands" I cannot think of anything better to strive for in life!

I completely agree with the others that Ellen's judgment was clouded by the lack of closure in her relationship with Leo as well as her insecurities with her own life. I think she always felt a little insecure in the Graham family (her constant thoughts about being a Yankee and girl from an industrial town, not having as much money as them, not having her own mother...) and these feelings were only amplified when she moved to Atlanta and felt like a fish out of water. I can completely understand why she would gravitate towards Leo in this situation (not that I am saying I agree with or am justifying her actions because I most certainly am not!) because he felt like a safe and familiar comfort compared to her new life.

I also think that the lack of closure played a huge role in the decisions she made (sorry creamsicle I completely disagree with you here). I think that each person always has the teeniest tiniest soft spot for their exes whether they like to admit it or not and when there isn't any closure in a relationship, perhaps that soft spot is more difficult to overcome. Ellen was obviously confused about her relationship with Leo (which sounded unhealthy at best), and mistook her lust for passionate real love. When it ended so abruptly and "cleanly" she was left to wonder what could have been. This was made even worse by the fact that she found out about Margot's betrayal.

I completely empathize with Ellen here because I have had a relationship that ended similarly abruptly and I am still left with slightly hurt feelings and the occasional wondering about what could have been (as much as I hate to admit it). I think this makes us human ... no matter how much we love our significant others (and I am truly and fully in love with my boyfriend of 3 years who I would not trade for the world) you can't help but wonder sometimes. It comforts me to see Ellen struggle with thoughts that have crossed my own mind. While I would never make the decisions she did its comforting to know that other people sometimes have insecurities, doubts and struggles as well.

I think in Ellen's case she may have been confused about Andy because everything was so simple and so easy. Her past experience had taught her that relationships weren't that easy so perhaps she thought that it could not possibly be that good and that is why she longed for what she had with Leo. I think patricia said it very well, "Ellen's mind wandered and she followed."
Jul 24, 2009 @ 03:43 pm


This book resonated with me, and I particularly empathized with Ellen's dilemma. The bottom line is that the grass is ALWAYS greener on the other side. You can end up with someone perfect for you, and still wonder about the what-ifs. Our lives can take so many different paths, and I feel that agonizing, even just slightly, over each different choice is a very human emotion. We're mortal, and we can only do so much in our lifetimes.
Jul 24, 2009 @ 08:28 pm

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