Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Novels With Nell - The Unfinished Journal of Elizabeth D.

I've always liked the idea of journaling. It is not something that I've ever really kept up with though. When Nell and I were talking about the book she was doing for this week's Novels With Nell post we   both agreed that the idea of journaling was great, but how much would you actually disclose in a journal? Today's novel, The Unfinished Journal of Elizabeth D.  shares Elizabeth D.'s journals which kind of feels like an invasion of privacy. Fortunately, since this is a novel, you don't have to feel too guilty about reading them. Unless you happened to get rid of any journals you may have written (I think I'm way too sentimental for that) who's to say that one day your journals wouldn't be read. While I haven't read this novel, I'm interested in the story since it shows the difference in perception and reality of this one woman, Elizabeth D. I'm interested to hear your take, would you want to read your friends journals if they were left to you? I think we are all nosey by nature but I'm not exactly sure what I'd do in this instance. 

By: Nichole Bernier

From a winter read last time to a beach read this week, seems fitting considering how dramatically the weather has been fluctuating lately. This book is one I just happened to stumble across at the library and really enjoyed. There were some heavy parts and themes as the novel explores questions like, “How well do we really know a person? How does someone control others’ perception of them based on what they share with the people in their lives?  What parts of our own stories do we keep hidden from people? Does keeping some things secret have positive or negative effects?” and the reminder of “things aren’t always as they appear.” This sounds way more dramatic than the book actually is but it does make you think. The story follows Kate, whose friend Elizabeth left Kate her journals after her death. As Kate reads them, she learns that Elizabeth kept some things, bits of her past and present struggles, to herself, leaving Kate with some questions about their friendship and the Elizabeth she knew.

“Summer vacation on Great Rock Island was supposed to be a restorative time for Kate, who’d lost her close friend Elizabeth in a sudden accident. But when she inherits a trunk of Elizabeth's journals, they reveal a woman far different than the cheerful wife and mother Kate thought she knew.

The complicated portrait of Elizabeth—her troubled upbringing, and her route to marriage and motherhood—makes Kate question not just their friendship, but her own deepest beliefs about loyalty and honesty at a period of uncertainty in her own marriage.

The more Kate reads, the more she learns the complicated truth of who Elizabeth really was, and rethinks her own choices as a wife, mother, and professional, and the legacy she herself would want to leave behind. When an unfamiliar man’s name appears in the pages, Kate realizes the extent of what she didn’t know about her friend, including where she was really going on the day she died.

Set in the anxious summer after the September 11th attacks, this story of two women—their friendship, their marriages, private ambitions and fears—considers the aspects of ourselves we show and those we conceal, and the repercussions of our choices.”

“I loved this bittersweet novel, which manages to be both a compelling mystery and a wise meditation on friendship, marriage and motherhood in an age of great anxiety. Bernier will have you thinking about her characters long after you've turned the final page.”—J. Courtney Sullivan, New York Timesbestselling author of Maine


  1. Thank you for the review, Nell! I'll definitely be looking into this book ❤️

    Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog


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