Not What I Expected At All!

Touch and Go
by Elizabeth Berridge
Kindle edition, Feb 24, 2017 
Pub by Odyssey Press (first pub Jan 1, 1995)
Also available in paperback and audible

GoodReads Summary:  
As a little girl, Emma Rowlands had loved the toy shell house. It belonged to her doctor, who had promised it to her as a reward for being brave. Emma is always brave. 

Now, at a time of uncertainty and despondency in her life, she discovered he had left her not the toy house she had asked for, but his own home.

With her daughter in India and her divorce finalized, Emma will need the old doctor’s gift more than ever.

But while Emma is blossoming her mother, Adela, is fading.
Like a terrible eclipse, Adela begins to watch herself vanish into her daughter’s shadow. Weighed down by her husband’s death and a secret she knows she can’t tell, Adela becomes more and more distant from her daughter.

Emma will need all her strength to fix up the old doctor’s house and chase out its demons. She won the house for being brave and she will need that bravery more than ever…

Touch and Go is an emotional tale that explores what it means to come into our own and what family is truly worth.

Elizabeth Berridge
(December 1919 – December 2009) was a novelist and critic. Born in London, where she was partly educated here, she later moved to Geneva. Berridge won the Yorkshire Post Novel of the Year Award, in 1964 for Across The Common.

My Review
I didn't know what to expect from this one, even after reading the synopsis and reviews, but what I got wasn't it. This is a story about endings and beginnings and how women handle them. Three generations of women being released from their previous strictures and what they do with their freedom. One is a young woman now old enough to go out on her own. One is her divorced mother who has moved back to her childhood town. And the last is her widowed mother who has been traveling to see what she has missed since her late husband didn't like to travel.

The daughter you really only know
 through her actions, her letters, and information from phone calls about her. You don't get to know her emotionally or through much first-person contact. But she's now an adult and making the most of it. Making her own decisions and going as far as she can under her own steam. She doesn't have to answer to teachers or parents anymore.

The mother of the young woman is divorced and dealing with housing logistics. She's moving back to her hometown where her family is well known, but she hasn't been in many years. Her father has died and her mother has taken to traveling. The woman herself is an artist. She gets busy working emotions out in her art and scaring some of the locals with it. But she's also reconnecting with friends and making her life again in this town. Her cat has its kittens and she rescues a dog. She's busy nesting in the house the doctor left her, which seems to be its own story. Her mother spends Christmas with her then goes off on a cruise. As she explores the house and reacquaints herself with the town, she stirs things up and finds some dark corners that could use a little light shown on them. Questions that perhaps her mother could answer when she returns from her cruise.

The mother of the middle woman has been traveling to places she always wanted to see. Her husband was a wonderful man, but he wasn't a traveler. He was a scholar. She's spent Christmas with her daughter and now is off on a cruise. She runs into an old acquaintance who thinks she would make him the perfect wife now that he's 75 and she's a widow. She writes a letter to her daughter to tell her about the man's proposal and her thoughts on life.

Being a part of the lives of these women is experiencing life in the raw. Ms. Berridge allows us to share the highs and lows of emotion with these women as they work their way through these phases of their lives. This is a book I highly recommend for any reader of women's lit. I do believe this will go on my read again shelf.

This eARC was provided by Endeavour Press, Odyssey Press, and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I am not being compensated in any way. All opinions are fully my own.
~ Judi E. Easley for Blue Cat Review