The Unfinished Work of Elizabeth D.

Nichole Bernier. Crown, $24 (320p) ISBN 978-0-307-88780-1
When Elizabeth dies in a plane crash a month before 9/11, her will designates her friend Kate as the recipient of her lifelong journals, in this tepid debut. Kate spends her family vacation during the summer of 2002 reading through Elizabeth's journals, discovering the truth about the woman she thought she had known. Elizabeth's history is full of secrets: a childhood accident, a decision to abandon her artistic studies to care for her mother, her relationship with her husband, and most curiously, the reason she was on that ill-fated August 2001 flight. Other than her time-appropriate anxieties about terrorism and loss, Kate is a pedestrian character, with quiet conflicts about her workaday marriage and thoughts of exchanging motherhood for a return to her career as a pastry chef. As a character, Elizabeth has more potential, but Kate's recaps of important events in Elizabeth's life, interspersed with brief passages from the diaries, feel journalistic and unfinished, like notes from a character study. Moments of beauty and depth of spirit will appeal to readers interested in secrets revealed, but the novel is slow and relies too heavily on introspection. Agent: Julie Barer. (June)
Reviewed on: 05/21/2012
Release date: 06/05/2012
Genre: Fiction
Paperback - 336 pages - 978-0-307-88782-5
Hardcover - 509 pages - 978-1-4104-5363-1
Compact Disc - 9 pages - 978-0-7927-8923-9
Open Ebook - 205 pages - 978-0-307-88781-8
Compact Disc - 9 pages - 978-1-62064-086-9
MP3 CD - 978-0-7927-8925-3
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