Excitable go-getter Manhattanite Emilia Greenleaf (lawyer, shoe shopper) loves her husband but these days wails inconsolably, mourning the death of their infant daughter. She also cringes at the demands of her precocious 5-year-old stepson, child of her beloved by his cartoonishly controlling ex-wife. Can she learn to love the fussy kid? Can she work through grief (perhaps via retail therapy) and return to hot sex with hubby? Love and Other Impossible Pursuits is a hyperventilating dither, made somewhat more interesting knowing the author's backstory: Ayelet Waldman, creator of the Mommy-Track mysteries, wrote a provocative essay last year (and discussed it on Oprah) declaring that she loves her husband—novelist Michael Chabon more than her four kids. Way to keep the fray going.