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The Diary    by Eileen Goudge order for
by Eileen Goudge
Order:  USA  Can
Vanguard, 2009 (2009)
Hardcover, Paperback, Audio, e-Book

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* *   Reviewed by Joan Burton

Emily and Sarah are in the attic of their parents' home. Their mother Elizabeth has suffered a stroke and is hospitalized, unable to speak. Their father passed away several years ago, and now they have the job of sorting through the boxes and selling the family home. Emily has come across an old diary in maroon leather, worn and faded with age. Opening it, the sisters are surprised to see the handwriting is their mother's. Both were unaware that their mother had kept a diary. They are soon distracted by old photo albums and report cards from their childhood, but eventually are drawn back to the diary.

The sisters are torn, wondering if they should even read it, as a diary is so personal. Their curiosity gets the best of them and they sit down to read a few pages. They are shocked to learn their mother's true love had been another man, not the father whom they adored. Had they missed something growing up in this house? Their parents seemed to be so in love with each other and always together. Deciding to continue, and hopefully unravel the mystery, Emily and Sarah read late into the night.

The Diary is told in the voice of young Elizabeth. She has fallen in love with Bob, of whom her parents approve. He is steady and predictable, and they plan to marry and raise a family together. Then Elizabeth meets another young man (A.J.) at the local fair. He is handsome and exciting and they share the same sense of humour. Elizabeth knows he wanders from job to job, from one city to the next and usually avoids commitment, but he is fun to be with.

One night while she is out with A.J., a fire breaks out on a neighbouring farm and he's a suspect. Elizabeth knows he is not responsible, but to step up and tell the truth would ruin her reputation and her relationship with Bob. Elizabeth makes a decision that shocks the town. She ends her friendship with A.J. and her relationship with Bob. Emily and Sarah are confused by the entries, and it is not until months later that they finally unravel the truth about their parents. The Diary is a beautiful, old fashioned love story with a very unpredictable ending. Another great read by Eileen Goudge.

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