Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Inheriting Edith

Inheriting Edith by Zoe Fishman
Harper Collins: 10/18/16
advanced reading copy; 320 pages
trade paperback ISBN-13: 9780062378743

Inheriting Edith by Zoe Fishman is a highly recommended endearing story.

Maggie Sheets is surprised to learn that she has inherited a house in Sag Habor, NY from her friend, author Liza Brennan, especially since the two hadn't been in touch for the last four years. Liza committed suicide, so she must have had a plan in mind before ending her own life. As a single mother to two-year-old Lucy, the house along with a financial inheritance, is a blessing. She can quit cleaning houses for a living and concentrate on raising her daughter. There is one catch, however. Along with the house comes Liza’s 82-year-old mother, Edith.

Edith didn't like Maggie when they meet years earlier and time hasn't likely improved her opinion. Edith is also in the early stages of Alzheimer’s. If Maggie accepts the bequest, she is going to have to deal with the increasing symptoms of Edith's deteriorating condition while trying to raise her daughter. Why did Liza choose her for this position? It soon becomes clear that Maggie has her hands full with her toddler and Edith.

"Edith, you're in trouble. I'm here because, for God knows what reason, Liza wanted me to take care of you. It was her wish. I'm here to carry it out, come hell or high water."

"Well, it's not like you're not being paid handsomely for it," Edith retorted. "A house, a pile of money, a car - I'd say you won the damn lottery."
"If this is winning the lottery, I'm selling my ticket back. You, Edith, are no prize."

The unusual situation results in Maggie and Edith confronting both choices and the resulting consequences in their lives. It also seems that Liza may have known what she was doing when she chose Maggie, however obliquely, for the task of caring for Edith. With a lot of help from Edith's long-time friend, Esther, the two take a prickly start and manage to forge a shaky relationship that opens them up to sharing.

Telling the story through Maggie and Edith, Fishman manages to take a rather improbable situation and make it seem plausible. The novel is a fairly quick and easy book to read, and while both Alzheimer's and depression play important roles in the novel, they are not portrayed in depth or as gravely serious as they are in other novels - or in real life. It is the relationship between the characters that becomes the focus here, which Fishman develops with care and understanding. Inheriting Edith is an endearing, heartwarming story about bonds formed between people from different backgrounds once they realize the similarities of their experiences and set aside differences to work together.

There were two drawbacks in Inheriting Edith for me. One was Lucy, whose constantly demanding chatter and temper tantrums became a tad bit annoying. It did highlight Maggie's exhaustion dealing with both a two-year-old and an eighty-two-year-old. Perhaps I'm becoming an old curmudgeon; nevertheless, I think I could have understood the gest of Maggie's situation with a little less toddler prattle. The second was the potential love interest for Maggie who added nothing and could have just been left out of the book.

Disclosure: I received an advanced reading copy of this book from
Harper Collins.




1 comment:

Heather J @ TLC Book Tours said...

It certainly does seem like an unlikely situation but I so appreciate when an author can make something like that feel completely natural.

Thanks for being a part of the tour!