This book had been on my Goodreads TBR since 2014 and was the oldest book on that list, so when I had a challenge come up to read the oldest book on my TBR, I put this book on hold at the library, with some trepidation, wondering just how well my tastes from 2014 would mesh with my tastes from 2017.
It turns out I needn’t have worried about that because I thoroughly enjoyed this book. We meet Elizabeth through her journals after she has already passed away, and has given her friend Kate ownership over them with the instruction to “start at the beginning.” So, Kate does and begins to wonder just how well anyone can truly know another person after discovering through reading Elizabeth’s journals just how much she didn’t know about her friend.
I really love that while this book essentially centers around Elizabeth’s journals, there is a smooth and coherent plotline alongside that centering around Kate and her family at their favorite vacation spot. Also, rather than telling Elizabeth’s whole story through journal entries, the journal entries are somewhat sparing and her story is told through Kate’s eyes as she reads. I thought this was a nice touch and made for a much smoother story than I was expecting.
Set in the year after 9/11, this book also skimmed over current events happening in the news at the time that brought back memories of the uncertainty of that time period. Kate deals with some anxiety and fear that I think were pretty common in that time period as well. I don’t think that it was handled very gracefully by her husband Chris, but I think that how he handled it is often how it IS handled, so at least it’s an accurate portrayal.
I think my favorite part of the whole book, though, was how Kate and Elizabeth were just normal Moms. There was no sugar coating to try and hide the fact that they got stressed out and tired and lonely sometimes. My kids are not babies or toddlers anymore, but I related to them very much, and I feel like other Moms might relate to them as well.