When I read THE UNFINISHED WORK OF ELIZABETH D, I grew to know Kate and her friend Elizabeth as told by Kate. Kate and Elizabeth met at their children’s playgroup and became best friends. Then Elizabeth’s sudden and untimely death, followed a month later by the events of 9/11, left Kate in desperate need of a quiet vacation. However, before Kate and her family set out for their vacation, Elizabeth’s husband Dave told Kate that Elizabeth bequeathed her journals to her, and Kate agreed to pick up the journals on the way to their summer getaway.
Elizabeth’s sole instruction to Kate was, “Start at the beginning.” As Kate read the journals, I came to know Elizabeth through Elizabeth’s eyes instead of Kate’s. In Nichole’s story, I was right up there in that attic room reading those journals with Kate, hearing Elizabeth’s own words and from them, learning who Elizabeth really was, all the while trying to equate this Elizabeth to the Elizabeth Kate told us about. How often do we think we know someone, only to find out there is much more to them or that they have hidden their true identity from us in varying degrees?
As Kate delves deeper into the journals, her relationship with Elizabeth’s grieving husband Dave and with her husband Chris become complicated. Dave wants to know about the mysterious “Michael” Elizabeth was en-route to see when she died in a plane crash, and Chris feels he and Kate are drifting apart as the journals take more and more of Kate’s time.
Nichole Bernier’s use of Elizabeth’s journals to tell Elizabeth’s story is pure genius. This is one of those “please don’t let it end” books and highly recommend THE UNFINISHED WORK OF ELIZABETH D.