Published by William Morrow ISBN 978-0-06-237874-3
Trade paperback, $15.99, 304 pages
In Zoe Fishman's engaging Inheriting Edith, Maggie Sheets is a thirty-eight year old single mom of toddler Lucy, working cleaning apartments while living in a cramped New York City apartment when she hears from a lawyer that she has inherited a fantastic Sag Harbor house from her former friend, successful author Liza.
Maggie and Liza had a falling out four years and hadn't spoken since then. Not only did she inherit the house, she also inherited Liza's mother Edith, who has been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. She had only met Edith once, but the chance to give her young daughter a better life overcame Maggie's misgivings about caring for an older woman.
Liza had struggled with bipolar disorder, and her suicide left Edith feeling like she failed her daughter. Edith was tough on her daughter, but she loved her very much. She enjoyed her freedom, her daily walks on the beach, and the thought of having a stranger and her young daughter living with her did not make her happy.
Although Liza is gone, her spirit casts a huge shadow over the novel. Liza was larger-than-life, she turned heads when she entered a room, everyone drawn to her side when she was in her manic phase. Maggie began as Liza's cleaning lady, but they grew to become true friends until their falling out, the reason which looms large in the story.
Edith too grows to enjoy Maggie and Lucy's company, even though Lucy is quite a handful as many two and half-year-olds can be. Edith has a close friend Esther who "wore her nosiness proudly, like a badge". Esther brooks no nonsense, and she says what she thinks without caring what others think. I liked Esther.
Edith and Esther were dancers on Broadway when they were younger, and Esther comes up with the idea that Edith should tell her life's story to Maggie, who would write it down before Edith can no longer remember.
Initially Edith was opposed to the idea, but after a scare, she finally agrees. She tells Maggie a big secret that no one knew, not Esther nor Liza, a secret that leads to another unforeseen secret.
Inheriting Edith is a story about family, not necessarily the one you start with, but the one you create. It's also about forgiveness. Sometimes we tend to ascribe sinister motives to other's behavior, believing them to be intentionally hurtful when they actually are not.
I read Inheriting Edith in one day, wanting to see where this lovely story would take me. I recommend it to anyone who like a story with rich characterizations.
Thanks to TLC for putting me on Zoe Fishman's tour. The rest of her stops are here:
Sunday, October 16th: #redhead.with.book
Tuesday, October 18th: Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers
Thursday, October 20th: BookNAround
Monday, October 24th: Reading is My Super Power
Tuesday, October 25th: The Book Bag
Tuesday, November 1st: A Bookish Way of Life
Wednesday, November 2nd: bookchickdi
Thursday, November 3rd: Lesa’s Book Critiques
Friday, November 4th: Books and Bindings
Monday, November 7th: Broken Teepee
Tuesday, November 8th: I’d Rather Be At The Beach
Wednesday, November 9th: she treads softly
Thursday, November 10th: A Chick Who Reads
Thursday, November 17th: Tina Says…
Friday, November 18th: Art @ Home
Tuesday, November 22nd: Kahakai Kitchen
Monday, November 28th: Becklist
Wednesday, November 30th: 5 Minutes For Books
Thursday, December 1st: Readaholic Zone