REVIEW: INHERITING EDITH, BY ZOE FISHMAN

28594365

 

 

 

When Maggie Sheets, a struggling single mother to toddler daughter Lucy, learns that she has inherited a beach house in Sag Harbor, she is stunned. Not only because she had never expected to receive anything from her former friend Liza. She is also not sure what to think of the “catch” that comes with the legacy. The inheritance includes Liza’s aging mother Edith.

Maggie had met Liza Brenner, a bestselling author, when she had taken on the job of cleaning her penthouse. At some point, the two of them connected. But then, a misunderstanding (or a betrayal, depending on your perspective) drove a wedge between them.

Now Maggie has to decide what to do. Leave her house cleaning business in New York, for the cottage on the beach…and the elderly woman roommate. Or keep doing what she has been doing. But Edith could be a handful. She seems to be in early Alzheimer’s disease.

Alternating perspectives tell the story of Inheriting Edith, bringing out each woman’s history. They have more in common than they initially realized, and I was delighted to discover the layers (and secrets) of these two characters. In a lovely setting, we learn more than we bargained for.

Will they find a way to coexist? Can they provide comfort and support to one another? How will one of Edith’s secrets bind them closer together? Somewhat predictable, the story also offered up glimpses into the lives they create together, and how unexpected challenges can be true gifts. I enjoyed this book, and recommend it for those who like family issues. 4 stars.

ratings worms 4-cropped***

REVIEW: THE DAY WE MET, BY ROWAN COLEMAN

cover photo resized

 

 

Claire Armstrong is struggling to remember details about her life, about the people she knows and presumably loves, and the feelings attached to those people. She has been a teacher, a single mother to Caitlin, and now a married mother to Esther, who is three. But along the way, the details of her life have changed dramatically.

Why is everything around her, along with pieces of her very being, disappearing? And why does a man she just met by accident in a coffee shop feel so important to her? Why does she clearly remember him and keep meeting up with him? Who is he and what is their connection to one another? And why does her husband Greg seem like a stranger in their home?

It is a mystery, but is it a feature of her illness or one of life’s surprises? Alzheimer’s disease, which is Claire’s diagnosis, has a way of carving out bits and pieces of her mind and emotions, without rhyme or reason.

Multiple narrators, beginning with Claire’s voice, take us into the past, and then headlong into the present with its confusion and disorientation, followed by moments of clarity. We also read alternate narratives from Greg, her husband; Ruth, her mother; and Caitlin, her twenty-year-old daughter.

One of Claire’s tasks, in her lucid moments, is to somehow pave the way for those she leaves behind. But when she is not clear, she feels like a prisoner, which is why she constantly tries to escape. Running away blindly and then getting lost, she experiences a wide range of emotions, from delight at the escape to paralyzing fear at the moment she realizes she no longer knows where she is or even who she is.

Caitlin’s story is one that captured me, too, with her own personal struggles of identity, along with a quest to find her father, whom she believed had abandoned her. Will she find a new connection that can help heal the loss of another? And does she carry the gene that could bring out this disease in her own body? Does she want to know?

The Day We Met: A Novel is set in Guildford, with an occasional journey to London and Manchester. The story of Ruth, Claire, and Caitlin, as well as the people in their lives, is clearly etched against their surroundings, just as their connections to one another define them.

There were surprises along the way and some feel-good moments at the end as some earlier mysteries sorted themselves out. The way the story flowed between the past and the present seemed to illustrate very clearly how the lucid moments came and went in Claire’s mind. An unforgettable story that was both poignant and surprisingly happy, too. 5.0 stars.