The Unfinished Journals of Elizabeth D is a haunting story of bereavement, friendship and the pain of its loss, beautifully and skilfully told by Nichole Bernier.
Sometimes women share an affinity, a support network with each other that men often find mystifying and difficult to understand. Kate and Elizabeth were such friends, enjoying a closeness that left a huge void in Kate’s life when Elizabeth was killed in an air crash. Elizabeth’s unexpected bequest to Kate of the journals she had kept came as a surprise to both Kate and Elizabeth’s husband, Dave.
Strongly adamant that his wife’s intimate memoirs should not be given to a mere (even if very close) friend, Dave is against them leaving the confines of Elizabeth’s own family. He is also curious about their contents and wary of an outsider prying into their personal life. Kate, who only wants to do the right thing with the memoirs Elizabeth has entrusted to her, understands Dave’s resentment but feels she has to abide by Elizabeth’s wishes.
Mourning the death of her friend, Kate copes with her loss by immersing herself in the journals and spends the summer holiday with her family engrossed in the diaries. She finds them compelling, disturbing and irresistible, revealing an Elizabeth she had never known and details of her friend’s life that she had never suspected. The disclosures in them leave Kate wondering if she had ever known the real Elizabeth at all. Intriguingly, Elizabeth mentions a Michael none of her friends have ever heard her mention before and Kate worries about the implications of the disclosure of his existence to Dave.
There is also friction with Kate’s own husband, who feels that she is too obsessed with her dead friend’s life and neglecting their own family life.
Torn between loyalty to her dead friend whom she misses terribly and the fulfilment of her obligations to her own husband and children, Kate needs to read on until the very end, to find out who the mysterious Michael is and why Elizabeth was going to meet him when she was killed. She has to decide what is best, what to do with the diaries, what she should tell Dave about the diaries and what she should do with her own life.
Often an event is a trigger for bringing to the surface unresolved issues and Elizabeth’s death makes Kate take the time to consider her own life. This a recommended read that women everywhere will enjoy.
About the Author
Nichole Bernier has written for magazines including Elle, Self, Health, Men’s Journal, Child and Yankee, as well as Boston Magazine, where she was a senior editor. A fourteen-year contributing editor to Conde Nast Traveler magazine, she was previously on staff as a features writer. She is one of the founders of the literary blog Beyond the Margins, and a recipient of the literary journalism award from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism.
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Title: The Unfinished Journals of Elizabeth D
Author: Nichole Bernier
Category: Literary fiction
Publisher: ALLEN & UNWIN
RRP: $27.99 AUD
Publication Date: August 2012