Beth Hold Martin is fifty-three years old and feeling like life has passed her by. Beth is married to Howard, a successful psychiatrist. Howard is a methodical, reserved man while Beth is more of a free spirit - or she used to be. The couple has two daughters, Kate and Jenny; Kate takes after her father, Jenny after her mother. Beth’s dream in her younger years was to compose a symphony, but her draft has sat on her closet shelf for twenty years. Instead, she has devoted her life to taking care of her daughters, Howard, and their home. Now Howard and Beth almost have an empty nest. Kate is married with a three-year-old daughter and Jenny, the younger daughter, is backpacking in Arizona with friends and plans to leave for college in the fall.
Beth’s discontent mainly stems from her marriage with Howard, which went stale years ago. Their sex life is nonexistent, and Howard is not affectionate toward Beth anymore. Beth feels like she has lost herself, and this general dissatisfaction leads to an impromptu trip of her “running away” from home for a spell to spend time beachside in Pensacola, Florida. While some might say such a move is not logical, Beth does not care. She needs time on her own to find herself. One could say that she’s having a personal crisis and she needs time on her own to spread her wings and decide what she really wants. Understandably, the family is shocked by Beth’s departure. Howard makes an effort to examine his marriage; conservative, stay-at-home mom Kate wonders if she is truly happy.
Flying Lessons is an enjoyable read that is a novel of Beth’s self-exploration and how it affects and changes her family, as well. This is the second NEXT novel that I have read by author Peggy Webb and she is a talented writer, blending humor, poignancy, and southern fiction to create a heart-warming story. I recommend Flying Lessons to fans of women’s fiction.