Inheriting Edith by Zoe Fishman
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars
Maggie falls into a job housecleaning as a way to pay the bills. A college graduate, her work at a publishing firm barely lets her eke by. But she finds comfort in cleaning, even if it might not be the most glamorous trade in the world. Still, as a single mom, she's not exactly wealthy. So when a former employer and friend, Liza, passes away and leaves Maggie a home in a beach town, Sag Harbor, she's amazed. The only catch? Maggie must stay in the house with Liza's elderly mother, Edith, who is in the early stages of Alzheimer's. She's also a feisty, opinionated woman who is reeling from the loss of her only daughter. Neither Maggie nor Edith are too happy with this arrangement, but Maggie moves in with two-year-old Lucy in town. Slowly the two woman learn more about each other-- and their past.
This is an interesting little novel. The characters within are enjoyable and endearing. I took to Maggie immediately, as well as her sweet daughter. Even prickly Edith is one to root for. The supporting cast, particularly Edith's friend, Esther, are lovely. Still, somehow, the novel felt a little flat to me. As if it was trying too hard, or conversely, not enough. The book was good, but felt a little predictable, and the plot seemed to just barely scrape at the surface of the hard issues it dealt with: depression, Alzheimer's, adoption. It seemed like there could have been so much more depth of feeling and intensity shown in dealing with these hard subjects. I kept thinking back on one of my all-time favorite books, Elizabeth Is Missing, which is just this gorgeous, heartfelt story of a woman struggling with Alzheimer's and the daughter caring for her. In that novel, you could truly feel the pain of the characters. Here, they just sort of slide through, as if all these real problems can't truly touch them.
Still, it was a fun book, and as I said, the characters are endearing and often humorous at times. There is a lot of backstory that goes into Edith's early life, which is interesting, even if some of it becomes a tad farfetched. I'm glad I read it, but I wish it would have done more with its serious subjects and its lovely little cast. 3.5 stars.
I received a copy of this novel from the publisher and Librarything - thank you! It is available everywhere as of 10/18/2016.
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