* From Publisher for review *
I was lucky enough to read The Unfinished Journals of Elizabeth D by Nichole Bernier as part of an Allen & Unwin read-along hosted over at 1 Girl 2 Many Books.
Essentially it's the story Kate, who is grieving the loss of her friend Elizabeth (of the title) who kept a journal throughout her life, which was cut short after a plane crash, leaving her husband a widower with young children.
In her will, Elizabeth leaves her journals to Kate, mentioning that she will have the sensitivity to decide what to do with them.
I found the novel confronting in the beginning. As Kate was reflecting and processing her friend's passing, it was hard not to draw parallel comparisons to your own life and consequently forcing me as the reader to consider my own mortality. For this reason I found myself feeling rather depressed at times and reluctant to pick up the book.
What I did enjoy - whilst trying to bat aside that heavy feeling - was the sense or theme of identity Kate was battling or searching for within herself and only just discovering about her friend by reading Elizabeth's journals.
Two marriages are also observed between the pages of the novel and the pages of Elizabeth's journals, that sparked much discussion during the read-along. I enjoyed the fact that the two main female characters (Elizabeth & Kate) and their respective husbands weren't perfect, nor were they ever completely or fully characterised or revealed in the book. The author didn't spoon feed the reader every little tidbit and then tie a bow on it.
The reader was not given every journal entry we may have wished to have read (bummer) and although the 'big' answer to the mystery was provided at the end, subtle consequences and outcomes were left open. I appreciated this as it's more realistic and in keeping with life, although some readers prefer to have their novels delivered on a silver platter with every little thread tied up at the end. What type of reader are you? I loathe a completely ambiguous ending!
I've also got to comment on the cover, I absolutely adored it! It's not entirely a soft cover or hard cover but somewhere in between. The cover protrudes over the pages a little to protect them, and it's just a gorgeous and beautiful book to hold in your hands.
Since reading The Unfinished Journals of Elizabeth D, I have purchased a fountain pen in readiness to begin a travel journal. Was I influenced by Elizabeth or would I have done the same anyway? Who's to know... All in all, a good read.
My rating = ***