The Unfinished Work of Elizabeth D.: A Novel

The Unfinished Work of Elizabeth D.: A Novel

3.9 46
by Nichole Bernier
     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions

Before there were blogs, there were journals. And in them we’d write as we really were, not as we wanted to appear. But there comes a day when journals outlive us. And with them, our secrets.
 
   Summer vacation on Great Rock Island was supposed to be a restorative time for Kate, who’d lost her close friend Elizabeth in

See more details below

Overview

Before there were blogs, there were journals. And in them we’d write as we really were, not as we wanted to appear. But there comes a day when journals outlive us. And with them, our secrets.
 
   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. 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. 
   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.

Now with Extra Libris material, including a reader’s guide and bonus content

Read More

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
When Elizabeth dies in a plane crash a month before 9/11, her will designates her friend Kate as the recipient of her lifelong journals, in this tepid debut. Kate spends her family vacation during the summer of 2002 reading through Elizabeth's journals, discovering the truth about the woman she thought she had known. Elizabeth's history is full of secrets: a childhood accident, a decision to abandon her artistic studies to care for her mother, her relationship with her husband, and most curiously, the reason she was on that ill-fated August 2001 flight. Other than her time-appropriate anxieties about terrorism and loss, Kate is a pedestrian character, with quiet conflicts about her workaday marriage and thoughts of exchanging motherhood for a return to her career as a pastry chef. As a character, Elizabeth has more potential, but Kate's recaps of important events in Elizabeth's life, interspersed with brief passages from the diaries, feel journalistic and unfinished, like notes from a character study. Moments of beauty and depth of spirit will appeal to readers interested in secrets revealed, but the novel is slow and relies too heavily on introspection. Agent: Julie Barer. (June)
Library Journal
En route to an island beach house with her family in the summer of 2002, Kate stops to pick up her friend Elizabeth's journals from her widower, Dave. Elizabeth died in a plane crash a month before 9/11, and her will indicated that Kate should get her journals if anything happened to her. Kate spends the summer reading and becomes obsessed, both fascinated and sobered by the aspects of her life that Elizabeth kept hidden from her friends and even Dave. Kate is also consumed by the mystery of why Elizabeth was on the flight that took her life. As she reads, Kate reflects on her own marriage and life choices, as well as the paranoia about her family's safety she developed after 9/11. Debut novelist Bernier's thoughtful observations on friendship, identity, motherhood, work, and marriage wrap around the mystery of Elizabeth, whose journal writing enlivens the book and gives readers much to think about. VERDICT This literary novel should be a favorite of book groups and have broad appeal beyond.—Nancy H. Fontaine, Dartmouth Coll., Hanover, NH

Read More

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780307887818
Publisher:
Crown/Archetype
Publication date:
06/05/2012
Sold by:
Random House
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
336
Sales rank:
163,492
File size:
2 MB

Meet the Author

NICHOLE BERNIER has written for publications including Psychology Today, Salon, Elle, Self, Health, and Men’s Journal. A longtime contributing editor with Conde Nast Traveler, she lives outside Boston with her husband and five children.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >