In Emma’s Table by Philip Galanes, Emma Sutton – famous interior design and lifestyle guru – attends the prestigious FitzCoopers auction determined to purchase a unique antique table, no matter who stands in her way. Fresh from a stint in Federal Prison and feeling battered by the accompanying public scrutiny, Emma doesn’t realize she’s going to come away with much more than a table.
Still enjoying great success professionally, Emma’s personal life needs some work – her ex-husband has returned to try to work things out, her adult daughter is aimless and angry and Emma goes through personal assistants at an alarming rate. Despite the public image of perfection, she has no idea where or how to make the needed changes.
Emma’s weekend-personal assistant Benjamin (one of the few that has hung on), struggles with his own issues – a social worker during the week, he is puzzled by the case of Grace, a troubled, overweight little girl and her mother, as well as demands from his girlfriend. And then there’s the Japanese diplomat whom Emma outmaneuvered for the table. Emma searches for a way to make things right, heal all the insults and wounds she’s inflicted and therefore somehow save herself.
These disparete characters slowly come together in a story that is both lighthearted and thoughtful, about second (and even third) chances, redemption and starting again. Because everyone deserves a second chance.