The Unfinished Work of Elizabeth D. by Nichole Bernier

“The color of the sky matched the water, today more oyster than leaden. It had been overcast on almost every one of the ferry trips she’d ever taken, and she’d come to associate gray with vacationing as people do navy with sailing or pink with baby girls. Gray was the shingled house they rented and the darkly opaque waves outside its windows. It was the sweatshirts the kids threw on over their bathing suits, and the steamers she ate several times a week dipped in dun-colored broth. Gray represented freedom from ordinary time, and gray was the uniform of the cavalry riding in, the child-care cavalry, since Chris was with them most of the time….”

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 cheerful wife and mother Kate thought she knew.

The complicated portrait of Elizabeth – her troubled upbringing, and her route to marriage and motherhood – makes Kate question not just their friendship, but her own deepest beliefs about loyalty and honesty at a period of uncertainty in her own marriage.

The more Kate reads, the more she learns the complicated truth of who Elizabeth really was, and rethinks her own choices as a wife, mother, and professional, and the legacy she herself would want to leave behind. When an unfamiliar man’s name appears in the pages, Kate realizes the extent of what she didn’t know about her friend, including where she was really going on the day she died.

Get recommendations for the greatest books around straight to your inbox every week.

The Unfinished Work of Elizabeth D. by Nichole Bernier-excerpt

Nichole Bernier, author of THE UNFINISHED WORK OF ELIZABETH DNICHOLE BERNIER is a writer for magazines including Elle, Self, Health, Men’s Journal and Boston Magazine, and a 14-year contributing editor with Conde Nast Traveler, where she was previously on staff as the golf and ski editor and a columnist. She is a founder of the literary website, and lives outside of Boston with her husband and five children. The Unfinished Work of Elizabeth D. will be available from Crown Publishing wherever books are sold on June 5, 2012.

Visit Nichole online at, on Facebook, on Twitter @nicholebernier, and on Goodreads.

About Kira Walton

Kira Walton

KIRA WALTON has been stalking books all her life as a college English teacher, bookseller, book club consultant, author, and editor.

  • Rosemary Simm

    I had a journal for one year of my life with my husband. I started rather ackwardly, just jotting down our days activities. When I started to note more personal thoughts, I really enjoyed the journal as an escape of pent up thoughts. At the end of the year, I did not purchase another daily journal and put the previouslly filled one in a box of old photos. I found it about three years later and started to reread my life and found it rather disturbing. Why couldn’t I tell my husband my thoughts on moving and traveling without knowing where we would settle. I was so insecure. It turned out to be five years of wonderful adventure, a new start in a different part of the country and we worked side by side enjoying each other and the time looking at our acomplishments. I destroyed the journal and now good or bad I rattle off my thoughts as they pop into my mind. That journal give me quite an insight to my own self. I really look forward to reading this book and peeking into someone elses private entries.

  • Linda Savage

    From what I’ve read in the excerpt this book sounds intriguing and I can’t wait to find out where she was going on the day she died. I’m anxious for the book to be released.

  • Kimberley Salem

    Oh this sounds like the book I’ve been waiting to read and savor! Can’t wait to jump in!

  • Donna Edwards

    This sounds a wonderful read to be immersed in. I have been trying for sometime to receive a book and maybe this will be my first. If it isn’t, I will still come here to find out what new amazing endeavors are being written about, that I can get lost in next. Good luck everyone and Happy Reading.

  • Claire

    Interesting concept, I am quite intrigued. The description raises so many questions. I hope to read the book and find answers.

  • Sue Hamilton

    I would love to read this book and share it, I guess everyone has a part of themselves that they do not share with even their It sounds like an interesting read and would love to share with my book club friends.

  • Sue Hamilton

    oops, I meant your best friend, sorry.

  • Nicole Horne

    looks good

  • Valeen N

    This book sounds so intriguing! Especially good for a summer read. Thanks for the review! I’d love to read this!

  • Tina Hartley

    Yes I would love to win and read this book

  • Dawn Christopher


  • Lynne Hasson

    Looks like a great book and I would love to add it to my summer reading list.

  • Lana Brown

    hope I win!

  • Nichole Bernier

    Thanks for your interest, everyone! When I wrote this novel, I was intrigued by the use of journals as a way not only to access the inner life of the lost mother, but to offer a sort of liferaft for the friend left behind — who unbeknownst to her, was dealing with many of the struggles her friend was secretly coping with, too. Friendship, marriage and motherhood….the facets of ourselves we share with others and those we conceal, and the repercussions of our choices.

  • ryan vaine

    my wife would love this.

  • Ann Musgrove

    I think I would enjoy this.

  • Teresa Thompson

    Ive kept a journal through out my life but havent in the last few years.

[email_signup id="4"]