Lots and lots of great reviews on this book, but it was Beth Fish Reads that pushed me over the line. That girl can write a compelling review.
So, despite the HUGE PILES of print books on my bedside (the ones that are screaming at the tops of their lungs to be read), the multitude of potentially amazing books I got from SIBA, the silent but growing list of books on my Kindle, I ordered this one from my library. That is just how inspired I was to read it.
Synopsis: Kate and Elizabeth were circumstantial friends. Their kids played together, they were neighbors, and found in each other a kindred spirit without really knowing too much about each other's background. When Elizabeth tragically dies in an airplane crash, leaving a husband and three small children behind, it devastates everyone involved. More perplexing, Elizabeth leaves her journals, kept since she was an adolescent, to Kate, to do with as she wishes. The move confuses Kate and frustrates Elizabeth's widower...why would she entrust all of her secrets to a circumstantial friend of only a few years?
So Kate takes the trunk full of journals to the beach, where she will be spending the summer with her husband and two kids. As Kate struggles through her own inner conflicts about her sacrificed career and the soundness of her marriage, she learns about a whole different side to Elizabeth that nobody knew. Family tragedy, an unhappy childhood, and Elizabeth's gifted talent as an artist, her true thoughts on motherhood and sacrifice...all topics suppressed and hidden from those who knew her.
In a story about love, friendship, motherhood, and marriage in a fraught post-9/11 world, Bernier has crafted a thoughtful, moving novel that sure to affect any woman who reads it, young or old.
My thoughts: This is one of those books that bubble up in your subconscious when you aren't expecting it. Probably the most troubling concept is the one that hits you square between the eyes at the beginning of the story...the sudden and tragic death of a wife and mother. The image of a husband now raising three young children on his own. I wonder what would happen if something happened to me?
But that is just the starting point of this provocative plot. Do I allow my friends to get close, or is it just easier to be who they want you to be? Would my husband or friends still love me if they knew all the dark stuff? How do I really feel about things? Then there's the woman's age-old dilemma of sacrificing work, passion and career to raise a family. Or the panic that grips your soul at times when you know you cannot protect your loved ones from the horrors in the world, the diseases, the terrorists, the drunk driver, from loss, from grief.
I love books that make you think. Once in a great while you stumble across one that stops you in your tracks (I had a similar reaction to "What Alice Forgot" last year.) It really makes you check yourself.
The setting of this book...a small island accessible only by boat...was a nice touch. It also offered the perfect backdrop for Kate to deal with her own issues, and the disquieting discoveries in Elizabeth's diaries.
Don't be fooled to think that just because you see sand on the cover that this is an easy chick-lit beach read. It is a deep and touching read that you won't ever forget.
4.5 out of 5 stars