Sarah and Emily’s elderly father, Bob Marshall, died a year ago. Now their mother Elizabeth,
felled by a massive stroke, is lying unresponsive in a nursing home. With no hope of Mom returning
to her home, and doctors telling the two daughters that their mom has little time left, Mom’s
house is sold to a young couple.
As Sarah and Emily sort and pack what’s been stored in the attic down through the decades,
they come upon their mother’s diary, one kept over a few months in 1951, during the time before
she married their father. They discover Elizabeth Marshall had another passionate love in her
life—and it wasn’t their father. Yet Bob and Elizabeth were so obviously in love!
There are no other relatives to ask about this mysterious man with no last name in Mom’s diary.
So, the women continue to read about the fierce physical attraction, the warring between mind and
heart, the social upheaval and ostracism, of all the pressures heaped upon the young woman who
became their mother. Just when they think they’ve figured it out, they discover new information
from a stranger that fills in missing pieces and offers up surprises.
Eileen Goudge’s newest book, The Diary, compels each reader to ask, what is love? If
one has to choose between unreliable but passionate, and deeply affectionate with steadiness,
which characteristics lead to greater happiness? Emily, who is newly divorced, and Sarah, a
comfortably married woman with two children, turn these same questions over in their hearts.
Goudge’s flowing prose is descriptive, with well-drawn lovers, and imagery that provides
inhabitable depth and atmosphere to this story. Her expertly crafted transitions between the
diary entries, the backstory, and the present, strengthen the telling. Although admittedly different,
her romantic style is similar in some ways to that of Nicholas Sparks. If you like Sparks, you’ll