Should the past be left alone? In an assured debut, themed to situate its author alongside Waller and Sparks, Gertler answers this question as she focuses on former lovebirds Emily Hudson and Jim Moran. During the summer of '67, when she was just 16, Emily fell in love for the first time. Then life, in the form of Vietnam, separated her from Jim, a young Marine Corps recruit. Now, 30 years later, Emily is itching at the constraints of her Volvo-centric life in Connecticut. With four children and a husband who is never home, Emily begins to wonder: What if? Using the Internet, she locates Jim in Mobile, Ala. He is also married and has a child, but the two agree to meet at Washington's Vietnam War Memorial. Shifting from Emily's to Jim's perspective in alternating chapters, Gertler gamely, though with mixed results, endeavors to capture the past and present voices of each character. Examining Jim's experience of Vietnam and the resulting emotional fallout, Emily's and Jim's respective marriages and conflicting loyalties, and the world as it might have been if they had made a life for themselves together, Gertler weaves a winsome morality tale. Despite the occasional longueur, this wish-fulfillment novel may tempt readers to go online and seek out their own first loves.