Debut author Elizabeth Highland chronicles the quest for romantic and spiritual fulfillment in this first book of her planned series. While the author and protagonist’s names are the same, it’s unclear whether this is a memoir or fiction. (The publisher lists it as fiction and the author refers to it as “fiction based on truth,” yet it seems to be memoir or creative non-fiction.)
In this story, 58-year-old Highland is determined to find what will make her happy. Divorced for 24 years, this Toronto resident embraces life with a passion that has led her to explore interests as diverse as Eastern meditation and burlesque dancing. Still, when an unexpectedly suggestive e-mail arrives from Tim, a married friend of 40 years living in the Lake Tahoe/San Francisco area, she no longer feels within her comfort zone. For all her open-mindedness, she seeks a serious long-term relationship and has never cheated on anyone.
Highland intersperses many of the pair’s e-mail exchanges throughout her account of their developing relationship. Accepting that Tim is in a loveless marriage and on the road to a divorce, she falls for him. But will their sexting and deepening attraction ripen into more than virtual foreplay and endure the strains of distance, his lingering marriage, and the risks of damaging a friendship?
Amidst her frequent emotional outpourings, Highland brings a forthright attitude that reflects her healthy self-esteem and allows her to confront Tim on several occasions when he sends mixed signals. Beneath her carefully preened veneer lies a sensitive and mature woman that Highland reveals in a conversational tone with warmth and wit.
Although her brain wave optimization sessions and spiritual cleanses may seem odd, Highland’s quest for a soul mate is a universal one that resonates and invites introspection. Short chapters move the story along swiftly, despite occasional digressions into explanations of symbolism and mysticism.
Overall, this is an engrossing and uplifting look into one woman’s journey of self-discovery and search for love.
Also available in hardcover.