I read Nichole Bernier’s The Unfinished Work of Elizabeth D (Crown, June) straight through on a weekend. This fabulous debut asks the question, what would you do if your best friend left all her journals when she died to you, and not her husband? How would this choice affect your relationships with everyone involved? Elizabeth D., the perfect mother and wife, dies in an errant plane crash and leaves her personal journals to her best friend, Kate. Kate’s family is heading to an island vacation, where she immerses herself in Elizabeth’s journals to such an extent that her own family and marriage start skidding out of control. The handwritten pages reveal that Elizabeth was not as perfect inside as she was on the surface. What was her secret, and why did she not leave her journals to her husband, Dave? A perfect novel for women and men alike, I think, although each would look at it differently. This novel will spark many conversations in the store and will encourage sharing with your best friend.

Annie Philbrick, Bank Square Books, Mystic, Conn.