About the Book:
Hardcover: 320 pages
Publisher: Crown (June 5, 2012)
Kate Spenser is desperately in need of a vacation. Reeling from the death of her best friend Elizabeth a year prior, unnerved in the post-9/11 world, and struggling with her role as a stay-at-home mom and her deferred career ambitions, she longs for the safe haven of her family’s summer rental on Great Rock Island. But Kate’s baggage follows her to the island in the form of a trunk full of Elizabeth’s private journals, a weighty inheritance that came with one instruction: Start at the beginning.
To Kate’s surprise, the diaries reveal a dark side to Elizabeth she never knew existed. Underneath the cheerful façade of the perfect wife and mother, Elizabeth was a frustrated artist with a troubled family history, battling depression and a deep ambivalence toward marriage and family. As a mysterious man surfaces in the diary pages, Kate’s basic sense of morality and fidelity is tested. Delving deeper into Elizabeth’s past casts a shadow of uncertainty over Kate’s own seemingly perfect life and begs the question – how well can we really know the people we love? And how well do we let them know us?
Exploring the depths of women’s friendship and the thorny pursuit of trying to have it all, Nichole Bernier joins the brilliant tradition of J. Courtney Sullivan and Allison Winn Scotch with a new addition to the canon of what Carolyn See dubbed, “educated women’s lit.” THE UNFINISHED WORK OF ELIZABETH D. is a quintessential summer read you won’t soon forget.
About the Author:
NICHOLE BERNIER is a writer for magazines including Elle, Self, Health, Men’s Journal and Boston Magazine, and a 14-year contributing editor with Conde Nast Traveler, where she was previously on staff as the golf and ski editor and a columnist. She is a founder of the literary website Beyond The Margins.com, and lives outside of Boston with her husband and five children.
Connect with Nichole:
Imagine that your best friend dies in a horrible accident and as you struggle to deal with the loss you learn that she has left her life story to you in a series of journals that she has been writing since she was a teenager. To you, not her husband. Why? Why did she want you to be the one to read through her deepest thoughts? Additionally you learn that her husband finds and reads the last journal despite her wishes and discovers that the trip she was leaving on when the plane crashed was not was she said it was. He is now angry at her and at you because she trusted you with the books and not him. Talk about being stuck in the middle of someone else's marriage.
Then as you read the journals you discover that you did not know your friend at all. And you learn more about yourself than you might want to know.
This is the type of book I usually choose not to read but something about this one called to me and I am so very glad that I did read it. I was pulled into the story from the start. The novel takes place in the months just after the 9/11 attacks and there is a sense of fear added to the overwhelming sense of loss in the book. Both families are trying adjust to the loss of Elizabeth a seemingly perfect and loving wife and mother dedicated to her husband and children but as Kate starts to read the journals she learns that so much of what she knew about Elizabeth was was only a facade and that she was a woman of many facets, the majority of which Kate knew nothing about simply because Kate never bothered to ask.
Kate also learns more about the inner workings of Elizabeth's marriage. What she learns unnerves her and turns her world upside down while causing her to reevaluate her own marriage and needs.
I found myself completely enthralled in this tale of two women and two marriages; so alike and so very different at the same time. Ms. Bernier was able to write in the two different voices so well. The realities of relationships - both good and bad - were written with true insight and raw feeling. I truly cared what happened to both families. I felt as if I was living in the same neighborhood and was part of the happenings. It's rare for me to be so enthralled for modern fiction like this.
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Disclosure: I received a copy of The Unfinished Work of Elizabeth D. gratis from TLC Book Tours. Any opinions expressed are my honest opinions and were not impacted by my receipt of the free book. I received no monetary compensation for this post.