Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Blue Diary” as Want to Read:
Blue Diary
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Blue Diary

3.56  ·  Rating details ·  7,526 ratings  ·  688 reviews
From the New York Times best-selling author of The Dovekeepers, a New York Times Bestseller and Notable Book. The courage to face the unthinkable is at the core of this magnificent new novel. How do we manage to confront the truths in our lives and find forgiveness in the most unforgiving of circumstances? How do we love truly and deeply in a world that is as brutal as it ...more
Paperback, 304 pages
Published August 6th 2002 by Berkley (first published July 23rd 2001)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.56  · 
Rating details
 ·  7,526 ratings  ·  688 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Blue Diary
May 21, 2014 rated it liked it

Ethan Ford - a handyman, kids' baseball coach, and volunteer fireman - is a town hero.

After 13 years of marriage he's still deeply in love with his wife Jorie.....

.....and a good dad to his son Collie.

Then one morning Ethan is arrested for the rape and murder of a young girl fifteen years ago. Jorie and Collie are devastated and the townsfolk can hardly take it in, believing a terrible mistake has occurred.


To many people's surprise, Ethan pleads guilty to
Jun 30, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned-books
I read the Kindle edition of this book, and there were so many typos/misprints that I almost didn't finish reading it. Overall, though, the story itself was pretty good. This was my first Alice Hoffman book but definitely not my last! ...more
I didn't finish this book. Ms Hoffman failed to make me care enough about the characters, with the possible exception of Kat, to want to continue past page 116. Yes, I gave it a few extra pages beyond my 100-page limit because I wanted to like this book. Alice Hoffman is an author highly recommended by many friends, and I thoroughly enjoyed another of her novels, "The Probable Future." This novel, though, irritated the fluff out of me with the 3rd-person omniscient POV written in the present ten ...more
Apr 14, 2008 rated it it was ok
Can someone commit a terrible crime and then completely change themselves for the better? If that person has changed and now lives an exemplary life, are they still responsible for that crime even though they are no longer the same person? This is the question posed in Blue Diary. Ethan Ford is THE perfect husband and father or is he? The secret he has kept from his wife for 15 years comes back to haunt him and the whole town is drawn into the ensuing chaos. I thought the premise of the book was ...more
Aug 07, 2011 rated it did not like it
I didn’t hate it but I did skim most of it and couldn’t wait to finish and move on...but at least I finished it. The characters are too perfect or either too perfectly flawed. They are boring and unbelievable more than endearing and sympathetic. The author takes too much time making everything perfect...even the dang strawberries grown by Jorie are the best and sweetest in the world. Give me a break! The story is about Ethan Ford (the most perfect man on earth through the first 30 pages) who is ...more
Apr 08, 2010 rated it did not like it
Recommended to Susan by:
Unrealistic plot..Rapist/Murderer turns into Perfect Husband/Father/Fireman/ explanation as to why or how this occurred. Disjointed characters briefly interact as they come to terms with their disillusion. I kept waiting for someone to get to the heart of the know about Ethan and how/why he transformed himself, but instead got inner dialogue of his devastated wife, teen girl who turned in the murderer, but was still friends with his son, and whose 17 year old sister had been ...more
Aug 05, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
What can I say about this book other than it made me cringe? Quite a few things, since I was taking notes for a book club discussion, searching for its themes amid the overblown, flowery prose such as that found in this example: "He has walked through the fire with her name on his lips; he has drunk of it and found sustenance in it, until at last he was carried to the other side of the black river." Oh boy. Multiply this by the 303 pages found in this book, and you'll understand what I'm talking ...more
Oct 29, 2012 rated it liked it
Alice Hoffman’s books can be kind of depressing, but you almost don’t mind because they’re so beautifully written. The first chapter describes the idyllic perfection of the life Ethan and Jorie Ford lead along with their son Collie. Everything is wonderful, Ethan is a perfect, gorgeous, hardworking man and Jorie is a perfect, gorgeous, lovely wife. Collie is perfect, gorgeous, and happy. They live in a small, Massachusetts town and everybody loves them. Then, everything falls apart. Ethan is acc ...more
Oct 26, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I was attracted to “The Blue Diary” when I was listening to a book talk at our school. Later, I took the book and read the introduction of it which I though the plot was quite exciting. Then the librarian came to me and told me that she liked reading the book written by the author, Alice Hoffman, because her writing is really good. So, I decided to give the book a try.
However, the book is totally not what I had expected, and not in good way. For me, it is a disappointment because it is far too
Dec 24, 2007 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 09, 2007 rated it did not like it
Alice Hoffman loses her mind in this one. I really think she just took pretty words, put them in a jar, shook it up, and pulled out a handful everytime she needed to describe something.

It starts with the first sentence and goes downhill from there.

T'S THE LAST MONDAY OF THE month, a brutally gorgeous morning brimming with blue air and the sweet scent of honeysuckle, which grows wild in the woods beyond Front Street, when Ethan Ford fails to show up for work.

If the purple prose overkill wasn't en
Aug 26, 2008 rated it liked it
This was a good book, not the quality book that is life-altering or really touches your soul, but a good solid book nonetheless. The book centers around earth-shattering truths revealed to a woman about her husband. Its a bit unsettling to think about how quickly life can change. Equally as upsetting is how little you may know someone you think you know and love. Imagine you found out your husband had committed a horrible crime, only moments before you met and fell in love with him. Years later, ...more
Nov 30, 2009 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Young Adults
Recommended to Lou by: Teacher
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Oct 05, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: finished
Just finished this book after pushing through it ever so slowly. And there is one questions (well one of many) that is really confusing me!
How did Kat know?
I mean this happened years ago, and how did she know just because she didn't see his reflection (don't get me started on that!) in some mirror, that he committed a crime years ago?
If anyone had an answer, that would be great!

Apart from that it's a certainly interesting question that runs through the whole novel, but the characters were so 2
Mar 23, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Wow! What a premise. Ethan Ford and his wife, Jorie, have the perfect life. Even after 13 years of marriage, they are blissfully as in love as the day they met in the bar on the outskirts of town. It was love at first sight, and has only grown over the years with the birth of their son and their idyllic life in a small town in Massachusetts. Ethan is a master craftsman, coaches his son’s Little League team and motivates all the town’s boys; he serves on the volunteer fire department and over the ...more
Dec 03, 2012 rated it did not like it
This book was a disappoint to me. The author wrote from a different perspective than I was used to. She has a wonderful skill in describing everything in perfect detail except the plot. For example she tries to reveal the feelings of an entire town which becomes a burden to the reader to keep up with a plethora of characters. You never really figure out the main characters. Could you forgive and overlook a heinous crime committed by someone you love? Good question but the story fell short. I stu ...more
Feb 02, 2020 rated it liked it
Despite some not believable details, this was quite an engrossing tale. Here's an example of something not believable: a fifth grade girl goes to the jailhouse to visit a man accused of murder, and she is let into the cell with him...alone. Wait, what?? Yes, it was a small town, where everyone knows everyone else, but that (and several other things) just seemed ridiculous. But, to the author's credit, I couldn't seem to put it down. ...more
Crystal Pistal
Dec 27, 2020 rated it it was ok
I didn't really care for this book even though I like her other ones. The beginning was very frustrating to me the way she dangled things in front of your face. And it made me not really want to push to finish it. ...more
Dec 25, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Read a while back so don't remember details, only that I liked it a lot.

Second reading:

Ethan Ford is the perfect husband, the perfect fireman, the perfect neighbor. In a little town in New England, he has risked his life more than once to save others, as a volunteer fireman. He steps up to help others in need. He works as a handyman and builder and has many happy clients.

Ethan arrived in Jorie's life over 13 years ago and the two are still deeply in love. They both feel so lucky to have found
Jan 26, 2009 rated it really liked it
How do you find forgiveness in the unforgivable? This is what Alice Hoffman tackles in the superb book "Blue Diary". Ethan Ford and his wife Jorie have everything since meeting one night 13 years ago at the local bar. A perfect house, garden, the towns respect and admiration and an entranced love that allows them to make love as each day is the first day they met, but how far does love go when you are asked to forgive to unthinkable? Josie and the town struggle with this when Ethen is arrested o ...more
Oct 20, 2015 rated it really liked it
It took me an inordinately long time to read this book. Maybe because I was reading an actual book, as opposed to an electronic version, and I tended to save it for outdoor reading. It was not a difficult book to read, was not character-heavy or full of plot twists. No, it was a relatively straight-forward plotline and was interesting.

So, having finally decided to finish the darn thing, I started plowing through it yesterday and finished this afternoon, with tears in my eyes.

You find out qui
Aria Chen
Apr 19, 2009 rated it really liked it
This was a good book. It is life-altering and it really touched my soul.
I have to say that the turn in this story truly surprised me after Ford's secret was revealed and he was arrested. I expected greater forgiveness from his family and neighbors because of his exemplary behavior before. However, forgiveness did not come easily in this gossipy town. As many other reviewers asked: "Can someone commit a terrible crime and then completely change themselves for the better?", people are not alway
May 01, 2009 rated it liked it
right now i'm really interested i the plot, but plodding through all the flora and and fauna to get to what actually happens is a bit much. about 1/4 of it would add to the story the rest should be dumped out. Interesting so far though.

Ok finished it today, and man, i like the way it was wrapped up. now i see why she had Kat and Jorie take turns with the perspective. I also have to say, please cut out the flowers and shrubs and pick some normal names.
Lots of heavy stuff in here, Murder obvious
This story reminds me of a true story I read in a magazine.
In the magazine article we see a man with a terrible problem. His daughter is sick and needs a kidney, her mother and other family members are not a match. The father is not her natural father as the girl is a child of rape. This father was the one who befriended the traumatized girl who had been raped by an unknown assailant, offered her friendship, comfort and love and eventually became her beloved husband and the devoted father of he
Oct 02, 2008 rated it liked it
Not the most inspiring book of the year, based on its topic, but definitely interesting. Raises the question, "Could you keep loving someone once their secret past is revealed?"

At points I was disturbed by this novel because of the territory the heroine traverses in her search through her husband's past, but at the same time riveted to the story to see what would happen next. That's good, right?

As always, Hoffman's lyrical prose leads you down a primrose path of words that can only be described
Katherine Steins
Mar 09, 2021 rated it really liked it
But guys... wait, just one second.. (warning: major spoilers)

There are a ton of reviews that center around the "morality" of sending a "changed" man to prison. These, in my opinion, are infuriating to read because Ethan Ford is NOT a changed man, and im pretty damn sure Hoffman doesn't think he is either and this qualm was not meant to be the moral quandary of the book!

It's my belief that the point of this book is that Ethan Ford SEEMED like the "perfect" husband/father/local handyman/baseball c
Jan 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2020-faves
Wow! Wow! Wow! I just finished “Blue Diary” by Alice Hoffman and it was beautiful.

Overall Rating: ★★★★★

Characters: ★★★★★
Plot: ★★★★★
Writing: ★★★★★
Message/Delivery: ★★★★★
Enjoyment: ★★★★★

This book was a perfect example of all the reasons I adore Alice Hoffman’s artistry. A complex and layered story that read effortlessly and with so much room to connect and feel. She always manages to articulate the dynamics of families, small towns and individuals own minds in a way that feels graceful and simple
Apr 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Alice Hoffman is one of my favorite authors. Her stories are always thought provoking and her characters written with such emotion. When I’m reading her words I get immersed in the beauty of the language and her descriptions of the world in which her characters live. I’m always anxious to see how the story progresses and is completed but also sad to have the book end.
Debbie Tanguay
Dec 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
very good couple thought had perfect marriage
Victoria Raun
Sep 21, 2020 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Zoli
  • The Dogs of Babel
  • Fishing the Sloe-Black River
  • Amitav Ghosh's The Shadow Lines
  • Ibis Trilogy Amitav Ghosh Collection 3 Books Bundle (Sea of Poppies, River of Smoke, Flood of Fire [Hardcover])
  • Isabel's Daughter
  • What's Mine and Yours
  • This Side of Brightness
  • Love for Lydia
  • The Watcher Girl
  • Small Moving Parts
  • Adventures of a Psychic: The Fascinating and Inspiring True-Life Story of One of America's Most Successful Clairvoyants
  • The Source
  • A Crooked Tree
  • Work Song
  • Robert's Rules (North of the Tension Line Book 3)
  • Ordained Irreverence (Elmo Jenkins Book One)
See similar books…
See top shelves…
Alice Hoffman is the author of more than thirty works of fiction, including The World That We Knew, The Rules of Magic, The Marriage of Opposites, Practical Magic, The Red Garden, the Oprah’s Book Club selection Here on Earth, The Museum of Extraordinary Things, and The Dovekeepers. Her most recent novel is Magic Lessons. She lives near Boston.

Related Articles

According to some historians, the month of April is actually named after Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love, by way of the Romans....
52 likes · 27 comments
“Some things you carry around inside you as though they were part of your blood and bones, and when that happens, there’s nothing you can do to forget

…But I had never been much of a believer. If anything, I believed that things got worse before they got better. I believed good people suffered... people who have faith were so lucky; you didn’t want to ruin it for them. You didn’t want to plant doubt where there was none. You had to treat suck individuals tenderly and hope that some of whatever they were feeling rubs off on you

Those who love you will love you forever, without questions or boundaries or the constraints of time. Daily life is real, unchanging as a well-built house. But houses burn; they catch fire in the middle of the night.

The night is like any other night of disaster, with every fact filtered through a veil of disbelief. The rational world has spun so completely out of its orbit, there is no way to chart or expect what might happen next

At that point, they were both convinced that love was a figment of other people’s imaginations, an illusion fashioned out of smoke and air that really didn’t exist

Fear, like heat, rises; it drifts up to the ceiling and when it falls down it pours out in a hot and horrible rain

True love, after all, could bind a man where he didn’t belong. It could wrap him in cords that were all but impossible to break

Fear is contagious. It doubles within minutes; it grows in places where there’s never been any doubt before

The past stays with a man, sticking to his heels like glue, invisible and heartbreaking and unavoidable, threaded to the future, just as surely as day is sewn to night

He looked at girls and saw only sweet little fuckboxes, there for him to use, no hearts involved, no souls, and, most assuredly no responsibilities.

Welcome to the real world. Herein is the place where no one can tell you whether or not you’ve done the right thing.

I could tell people anything I wanted to, and whatever I told them, that would be the truth as far as they were concerned. Whoever I said I was, well then, that’s who id be

The truths by which she has lived her life have evaporated, leaving her empty of everything except the faint blue static of her own skepticism. She has never been a person to question herself; now she questions everything

Something’s, are true no matter how hard you might try to bloc them out, and a lie is always a lie, no matter how prettily told

You were nothing more than a speck of dust, good-looking dust, but dust all the same

Some people needed saving

She doesn’t want to waste precious time with something as prosaic as sleep. Every second is a second that belongs to her; one she understands could well be her last

Why wait for anything when the world is so cockeyed and dangerous? Why sit and stare into the mirror, too fearful of what may come to pass to make a move?

At last she knows how it feels to take a chance when everything in the world is at stake, breathless and heedless and desperate for more

She’ll be imagining everything that’s out in front of them, road and cloud and sky, all the elements of a future, the sort you have to put together by hand, slowly and carefully until the world is yours once more”
“My grandmother told me once that when you lose somebody you think you've lost the whole world as well, but that's not the way things turn out in the end. Eventually, you pick yourself up and look out the window, and once you do you see everything that was there before the world ended is out there still. There are the same apple trees and the same songbirds, and over our heads, the very same sky that shines like heaven, so far above us we can never hope to reach such heights.” 13 likes
More quotes…