Melissa Crytzer Fry's Reviews > The Unfinished Work of Elizabeth D.

The Unfinished Work of Elizabeth D. by Nichole Bernier
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Aug 20, 12

Read in August, 2012

I admit it: I am a journal junkie. Any time notes or diaries appear in novels, I’m hooked. They offer a depth of characterization – a window into the private parts of the soul – that just makes for good reading. So, yes, I enjoyed the epistolary aspects of this novel (journals are essentially letters to self, right?).

Best friend Kate is entrusted with Elizabeth’s journals as part of the conditions of Elizabeth’s will. The story made me wonder: what would I do if my best friend died, entrusting her innermost thoughts to me – would I read them? Store them? Would I share them with my friend’s grieving family? What if they held incriminating evidence that revealed a very different reality than a life publicly lived? Throughout the novel, pastry chef and mom Kate struggles with these very questions and learns a great deal about herself in the process.

A thought-provoking tale, the novel accurately portrays the dangerous rut that marriages can face when complacency becomes commonplace – as well as the value of personal space, and the secrets we keep from those we love. The novel begs the question: can we ever really know someone?

The key message, though, I think lies in one of Bernier’s final passages: “You could not take a single day or night for granted. Within every hour, every plane ride, or every routine doctor’s appointment was the spark of possibility, the thing that would become your undoing. And how you left things just before the final moment – that was how they would remain.”

This is a thoughtful book about friendship, marriage, parenting and love – as well as the hidden parts within each of us.

Bernier's writing is lovely, and I look forward to her future work.
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Mamey I LOVE those types of books too Melissa. What are some of your favorites??


Melissa Crytzer Fry Hmm.. The Baker's Daughter had some letters b/w siblings. The Mermaid Collector had some great epistolary portions (letters, correspondence). Then I absolutely loved The House Girl. And These is My Words, as well as Hemingway's Girl. What about you? (As if my bookshelves aren't sagging enough already!)


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