Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Review: The Diary by Eileen Goudge

The Diary by Eileen Goudge
Vanguard Press
April 2009
Format: Paperback, 224 pages

First line: The diary was bound in maroon leather dulled with age, its gilt tooling worn away in spots.

From the back cover: From New York Times bestselling author Eileen Goudge comes an unforgettable tale that you'll want to pass on to someone you love.

When two grown daughters discover their mother's diary in her attic, they are stunned to learn her true love was not their father. But is all as it seems? That's the mystery they must unravel as their mother lies near death in a nursing home.

Only the pages of her diary can provide the clues that will reveal the truth.

In a richly detailed journey into the past, we see the young Elizabeth Marshall lose her heart to one man while remaining devoted to another. Finally, she must choose between the stable, loyal Bob...and the electrifying and unpredictable AJ. When a suspicious fire is linked to AJ, Elizabeth is faced with the most painful decision of her life: She's the only one who can clear his name, but to do so would ruin her reputation and cost her the love of her fiance.

The Diary is a love story. It's also the story of a family and the question that all adult children must ask themselves at some point: How well do you really know your parents? The answer just might surprise you. 

My thoughts: I haven't read anything by Eileen Goudge in a while and needing something quick to read, I picked this one off my bookshelf. I'm not even sure how long it was sitting there.

Emily and Sarah are packing up their mother's belongings as she lay in a nursing facility after a stroke has left her weak and unable to communicate. The girls come across a diary written by their mother the year she married their father. They decide to open it and find that their father was not the only man that their mother was in love with. As they continue reading, they discover their mother's heartbreaking journey as she tries to figure out "Which was worse: to marry the wrong person for the right reasons or to be with the right person who was wrong in every other way?" 

Told in flashbacks to go along with what the girls are reading in the diary, the story flows quite quickly, all the while building up to a completely surprising ending...and ending, I might add, took my completely by surprise. The Diary is definitely a love story - but one that isn't so much about the happily-ever-after. Instead it's a story of all the people involved, including the two daughters, who reflect on their own lives as they piece together their mother's history.  It's filled with love, yearning and even suspense...quite a feat for a story that is just over 200 pages.

How do you feel about shorter books - not novellas, but actual books. Do you feel that they pull you in as much as longer, more involved books do?

(I received this book from a family member.)
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2 comments

  1. I have been a fan of Eileen's books and enjoyed this one too. I like shorter books now and again, especially if they are done well.

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  2. Ooh I love books about diaries and that first line is great. I don't usually read shorter books, but this one sounds like one to try. Thanks for the review.

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