The poor thing was cold and trembling, abandoned on their front doorstep. Dash, impulsive as always, decides on the spot that they should keep it. But her husband, Andrew, thinks it’s the craziest thing he’s ever heard. A fight over a scruffy little dog doesn’t seem like much of a reason to walk out on your husband of twenty years—but the spat over the puppy is just the last of many straws. Dash is so tired of the faculty parties at Mason-Dixon College that Andrew insists they attend even though he won’t mingle with his colleagues, tired of his constant fretting over illnesses he doesn’t have, tired of the glass of warm milk he must have every night before bed. Why can’t he see that with her mother gone and their daughter off at college, Dash needs something more? Now, living on her own for the first time in years, Dash can do whatever she wants . . . if only she could figure out what that is. But every time she starts making plans for the future, she finds herself thinking about the past—remembering the mother she’s lost, her daughter’s childhood, and the husband she isn’t entirely sure she wants to leave behind. . . .By turns poignant and hilarious—often on the same page—Mad Dash is a novel about the funny ways love has of catching up to us despite our most irrational efforts to leave it behind.
Gaffney's latest (after The Goodbye Summer) chronicles a 20-year marriage on the verge of imploding. Vivacious, impulsive professional photographer Dash Bateman is the opposite of her worrywart, straitlaced husband, Andrew, a history professor at Mason-Dixon College. After Dash's mother dies and the couple packs off their daughter for her freshman year at college, Dash's crisis of purpose culminates with Dash fleeing her house and husband for an extended stay in the couple's isolated cabin. As they attempt to live without one another, Andrew flirts with a feisty younger colleague and salivates over the chance to be chair of his department (if he can navigate the politics), and Dash finds a substitute mother, daughter and potential love interest. Gaffney tells the story from both Dash's and Andrew's points-of-view, allowing readers to see how the two frustrate and fall in love with one another. The writing is lively, though scenes involving conversations about the nature of love and relationships can turn tedious. The climax teeters on the edge of being over the top, but the denouement is just rosy. It's a lot of fun, and the faults are easily forgiven.