The Unfinished Work of Elizabeth D. by Nichole Bernier

The Unfinished Work of Elizabeth D.

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 chee...

Details The Unfinished Work of Elizabeth D.

TitleThe Unfinished Work of Elizabeth D.
Release DateJun 5th, 2012
PublisherBroadway Books
GenreFiction, Contemporary, Marriage, Abandoned

Reviews The Unfinished Work of Elizabeth D.

  • Randy
    Nichole Bernier reminds one (in finely-wrought, clear, solid, turn-the-page prose) that in motherhood, in friendship, in marriage, there are no easy answers. None of us have one side--we are instead faceted prisms, showing a side here, a side there--and when we are lucky, we find people who we can show almost every version of ourselves. Bernier catches the rarity of those moments--and explores a grief rarely looked at; the grief of losing a frien...
  • Melissa Crytzer Fry
    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...
  • Jo Ann
    Although I read this book before attending Booktopia in Manchester, Vermont this past weekend, I hadn't gotten around to this Goodreads rating. I loved the author, Nichole Bernier, who was present at the weekend, and I appreciate learning about her writing and her journey.While I enjoyed the journals, and the stories left by Elizabeth to Kate, 2 things stood out for me as life lessons, and very worthy of discussion: One, the intensity involved in...
  • Kats
    This debut novel had been hailed as "THE book club book of the year", so I was quick off the mark to order it in the week of its publication. Well, I am glad I read it before suggesting it to my book club because in my opinion there isn't much in the book at all that seems worth discussing to me, or at least you don't need to read a book to stimulate a discussion on the career vs children dilemma for mothers, the work a marital relationship requi...
  • Melanie Coombes
    This is a amazing novel of two women, Kate and Elizabeth. We are introduced to the character of Elizabeth only after her death in a tragic accident. Kate, who was a good friend of Elizabeth, inherits an old truck of journals that have all been written by Elizabeth before her death. These journals contain her deepest secrets, hopes, wishes and regrets.Tragically, Elizabeth has left behind a husband and three small children. Kate, who tries to be b...
  • Nancy
    Every so often a book is written that strikes a cord and resonates deeply and on many levels. This is definitely one of them.The two reviews I struggle with the most are of the books that move me and the books I really hated. The latter is difficult because I struggle to write something that negates an author's work. The former is difficult because I lack the words to articulate the emotions evoked. It is the culmination of adjectives, writing st...
  • Cherylann
    I think I've hit the book jackpot - two books in a row that were five stars. Based on Books on the Nightstand's recommendation, I downloaded The Unfinished Work of Elizabeth D to my nook for vacation reading. I absolutely couldn't put this book down. I found myself reading it on my iPhone while at a Vince Gill concert at the Ryman Auditorium (during intermission not the concert), on line for roller coasters at Dollywood, at the breakfast, lunch, ...
  • Robin Black
    I had a chance to read an advance copy of this wonderful book and I highly recommend it! It's the story of two women, of the friendship they shared and of the lives they never could share. It's the story of the ways in which we do know and cannot know the people to whom we are closest. Nichole Bernier is an insightful, sensitive, truthful writer - and she also knows how to keep you on the edge of your seat. This book is good company, it is wise, ...
  • Ann
    This may be *the* book club book of 2012. Well-written, with so many layers. Can't wait to talk about this book with my closest girlfriends.
  • Angela Risner
    Sometimes I just want a light beach read, something I can escape into without having to think too much about it. Other times, I want something that I think about when I'm not reading it. This is one of those books.The story is about best friends Kate and Elizabeth. Elizabeth died in a plane crash last year and left her journals,which date back to childhood, to Kate. She said that Kate would know what to do with them after she read them. Unsurpris...
  • Lisa
    The Unfinished Work of Elizabeth D. was Nichole Bernier's debut novel. As is often the case with debuts, I want to go back and read the author's other books. I hope the thing that's often true isn't for Bernier--that the debut was so much better than the second book.I guess that's beside the point...Here are some of my thoughts:1. I take my friends at what I believe to be their face value. It never occurs to me they might have journal-like secret...
  • Therese Walsh
    This was a beautifully written debut novel by Nichole Bernier. It's not a fast read; it's a thinking-woman's read. It asks you to reflect on your own life and choices, how others might view you, the compromises you've made and continue to make through your days. There are dozens of things I might point to, but here are the two things I loved best about this novel. The details are extremely well attended to; you will feel you are with Kate as she ...
  • Angela
    I enjoyed this thoroughly, despite having nothing in common with the characters. This isn't so much about Elizabeth's journals as it is about being adaptable, rolling with the changes, and realizing that whatever you get in life is what you have to work with. It's senseless to live in a state of constant anxiety about the evils of the world and how they may or may not be visited upon you.
  • Linda
    I anxiously awaited the release of The Unfinished Work of Elizabeth D. by Nichole Bernier. I was excited to read it, but unfortunately, the book did not live up to my expectations. Frankly, I am confused by the extremely high ratings of this novel.The idea of the story is incredibly enticing; a good friend dies in an accident and leaves journals dating back to when she was in her teens until the present. It is such an engaging premise, but the "s...
  • Kathy
    One of the many things I loved about this book: it reminds us how much we don't know about about the people in our lives, even those at the center -- close friends, spouses, children, parents. Kate and Elizabeth have been friends through their children for years when Elizabeth dies in a plane accident. This presents the first of many mysteries in the book -- why was Elizabeth on that flight? No one -- including her husband -- seems to know. In an...
  • Lormac
    What did I think? I thought, "Eh." Two fairly privileged suburban mothers/wives become friends. One dies and leaves her personal journals to the other. This results in lots and lots of conflicts. The decedent's husband is annoyed about this (conflict #1). The husband of the reader is annoyed that the reader is ignoring him as she reads the journals during their ANNUAL SEVEN WEEK BLOCK ISLAND VACATION (conflict #2)(sorry for the caps, but this is ...
  • Angela
    I loved this book. The best description of it was written by another author, whom I will quote now: "This is one of those rare novels that's so real you forget it's written; I literally carried it around with me, and I missed the characters when I was done." - Jenna Blum. To me, this book is about how, as children, we see our mothers as nothing but mothers. When in reality, mothers are regular people with histories, secrets, and personalities. Tr...
  • Britany
    2 best friends, Kate and Elizabeth meet at a neighborhood playgroup where they are living the lives of housewives raising their children together. Elizabeth meets a tragic fate and leaves a trunk full of her personal journals to Kate. Kate takes the journals on her vacation with her and starts savoring the writing of her best friend. I really loved the journal entries more than anything else. There were so many hidden layers to Elizabeth that nob...
  • J Clement Wall
    This book, about a woman who receives the journals of her dead friend in the aftermath of 9/11, delves into so many big, human questions about the nature of our connections to each other and our ability to ever fully know one another - even the people we love the most. Are the parts of ourselves we don't share any more or less true because we keep them to ourselves? How important is it for us to feel safe, and is that antithetical to feeling trul...
  • Ellen
    What happens to your journals, the place you share your secret life, if you die suddenly? After Elizabeth’s unexpected death, Kate inherits a trunk of her close friend’s journals and brings them on vacation to read. This is the summer after 9/11, a time of intense re-examination of both national and personal safety. As Kate discovers Elizabeth’s secrets, she questions both their friendship and her own choices and yearnings. This book is ten...
  • Debra Martin
    What if everything you knew about your best friend was a lie? This is the situation that Kate Spenser finds herself when her best friend, Elizabeth Martin, dies in a tragic plane crash leaving behind a husband and 3 small children. Agonizing over the loss of her friend, Kate is surprised when she receives a letter from Elizabeth's lawyer. Elizabeth has left Kate all of her journals with a simple statement of "Start at the beginning."The story fol...
  • Carolyn
    In "The Unfinished Work of Elizabeth D" author Nichole Bernier asks the big questions: how well do we really know each other and how much of our true selves do we reveal and to whom? She also asks that question that won't seem to go away: can women have it all? The Unfinished Work of the title could refer to many things: the untimely death of Kate's friend Elizabeth, her journals, but also the words of Elizabeth's younger sister on one fateful ch...
  • Diane S ☔
    When Elizabeth is killed in a freak accident, she leaves her journals to Kate. Kate has not been her friend terribly long but they clicked during mommy baby play groups and became fast friends. This novel leads one to many questions. How well do we really know the people we are close to? Does everyone have a side of themselves that they keep secret? Do people reinvent themselves to fit in either their preconceived notions or of others. How often ...
  • Read It Forward
    I love novels that capture the complexity of friendships and family life, and Nichole Bernier does that beautifully here. She also has a deft way of making you think about the face that we present to the world and how that may be different from our private self. A satisfying read with vivid characters and a through-provoking premise.
  • Catherine McKenzie
    I raced through this enjoying both the mystery of the past and the present as it unfolded. Highly recommend.
  • Rosemary
    Very informative. How you can really never truly know a person until you read about them in their journals. I realize that you never truly know a person even your loved ones, especially if they are not open with you and you are not a person who cannot come out and say tell me what is going on.
  • Erika Robuck
    Set during the summer after the September 11th attacks and in the past by way of a set of journals bequeathed to a woman by her friend, The Unfinished Work of Elizabeth D. is a story about how much we keep from others and the cost of our secrets.The novel begins as Kate and her family drive to the home of Dave Martin, the widower of her friend Elizabeth who has recently died in a plane crash. To everyone’s confusion, Elizabeth has left her prec...
  • Virginia Campbell
    Author Nichole Bernier touches many levels of emotion in her riveting, revelatory novel, "The Unfinished Work of Elizabeth D.". I read the book all in one fell swoop, and I cried off and on as the "real" Elizabeth was uncovered through her own words. Elizabeth Martin, wife, mother, and reluctant flyer, suddenly decides to take a trip--flying off to partake in a painting workshop over a long weekend. Tragically, her plane crashes soon after takeof...
  • Noel
    “They say that every person has 3 faces - or facets - the one they show the world, the one they see as themselves, and their real self.Elizabeth D. died in a plane crash in her late 30's leaving behind a husband, kids and a trunkful of journals which she leaves to her friend Kate to read and dispose of as thinks fit. It is within those journals that Elizabeth's 2 other faces begin to shine through and we get to know the real woman behind the fa...
  • Meaghan
    I had high hopes for this one because the summary just sounds so amazing. I have to admit though that while I had high hopes for this book, the book fell a little flat for me. For some reason I just didn't feel a connection with either of the main characters in the book. It could be because one of the main characters is dead and we are only learning about her through her journal entries. I could see why I wouldn't connect to Elizabeth for this re...