Thursday, June 28, 2012

Review: The Unfinished Work of Elizabeth D. by Nichole Bernier

Title: The Unfinished Work of Elizabeth D.
Author: Nichole Bernier
Genre: Adult Contemporary/Fiction
"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.
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." ~See it on Goodreads


One of my personal goals this year as far as reading goes was to read more Contemporary books. I really do love them but out of habit I always seem to pick up more YA Fantasy, Paranormal, or Dystopian type books. I was so glad when I came across The Unfinished Work of Elizabeth D. I had been looking for a good Contemporary and some bloggers I really admire liked this book a lot so of course I had to read it.

The characters in this book were developed very well. I liked Kate, I think we get a pretty good feel for her through her narration as well as the mentions of her in Elizabeth’s journal entries. At times I did wish I could have gotten to know Elizabeth a little bit more, I mean you learn a lot about her through her journal entries but I just felt like there was a little something lacking in the connection with her character. But ultimately both Kate and Elizabeth were very strong and determined women. One issue I had as far as the characters go would be the husbands. Honestly, they just came off as really jerkish at times. I can see how it added to the emotional aspect of the story, but I think it could have been just as good without the douche bag tendencies that both of the husbands had.

I really loved the style of writing in this book. Also, I’ve always liked when an author uses sensory language in their writing, it adds that little extra something and you can really connect with it. This book is a roller coaster of emotions for sure and there are definitely some pretty low and depressing parts in it. I experienced each emotion so fully while I was reading this, so I’d say you have to be prepared for that.

I love when a book leaves me with something to think about and ponder over, and this book definitely did that. Something that really stood out in my mind and kept me thinking was can anyone honestly ever say that they completely and truly know a person? Of course you know the basics and what people present on the outside for the world to see. But what about their deepest thoughts, hopes, and desires? You could know someone for years and possibly never really and truly know them. You see the plain evidence of this as Kate is reading through Elizabeth’s journals, and it made me wonder about my own relationships with the people in my life.

Overall I really enjoyed this book. This story was wonderfully written, and gave a great glimpse into the life, marriage, motherhood and friendship of two very strong women. 

4 Stars!


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