3 reviews

The Diary
by Eileen Goudge

Published: 2009-04-07
Hardcover : 224 pages
10 members reading this now
4 clubs reading this now
3 members have read this book
Recommended to book clubs by 3 of 3 members
When the two grown daughters of Elizabeth Marshall discover an old diary of their mother’s in her attic, it comes as a shock to learn that the true love of Elizabeth’s life was not their father. This is the mystery the two daughters must unravel as they stay up late reading the words ...
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When the two grown daughters of Elizabeth Marshall discover an old diary of their mother’s in her attic, it comes as a shock to learn that the true love of Elizabeth’s life was not their father. This is the mystery the two daughters must unravel as they stay up late reading the words penned by Elizabeth so long ago. Their mother can’t give them the answers: After a massive stroke, she lies mute and near death in a nursing home. Only the pages of her diary can provide clues to what really happened.

In a richly detailed journey into the past, we see Elizabeth 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 A.J., who spent time in juvenile detention as a teen. When a suspicious fire in the neighborhood is linked to A.J., Elizabeth is faced with another dilemma: She’s the only one who can clear A.J.’s name, but to do so would ruin her reputation. Surprisingly, it’s Bob who comes to the rescue, forcing Elizabeth to make perhaps the most painful decision of her life....

The Diary is a love story. It’s also the story of the unshakable bond between a mother and her daughters.

Editorial Review

No editorial review at this time.


“You worry too much.” He turned to smile at her.

“You want to know something funny? I’m not worried. And that worries me.”

AJ slipped an arm around her waist. They sat that way for a spell, gazing up at the moon that was like some enormous piece of fruit ripe for the picking, neither wanting to be the first to break the silence.

At last she dropped her head onto his shoulder with a contented sigh. “When I was a little girl, I used to beg my parents to let me sleep outside on nights like this,” she reminisced. “My father would always give in. He’d help me set up the tent in the backyard so I wouldn’t get eaten by mosquitoes and let me borrow his flashlight. After he died, that was the end of that. My mother was always afraid some stranger would carry me off in the middle of the night, like the Lindbergh baby.”

“And so he has.” AJ chuckled.

She cast him a coy glance. “Is that so? Well, in that case, sir, what sort of ransom did you have in mind?”

He crooked a finger under her chin, gently tipping it up to kiss her. She’d been breathlessly anticipating this moment, despite her earlier resolution to nip the affair in the bud, but it caught her by surprise nonetheless---not the kiss but the intensity of it. There was none of the initial tentativeness of last time. AJ laid claim to her with his mouth and hands as though they were already lovers.

They went on kissing under the benign, unblinking eye of the moon. When he lowered her onto her back, she was only dimly aware of the grassy turf rising to meet her; she could feel nothing but the sensations that were like a slowly winding passage taking her deeper and deeper into a forbidden realm. Even her body felt unfamiliar, a stranger’s yielding to touches that from anyone else would have caused her to shrink in modesty.

Bit by bit, he removed her skirt and blouse and undergarments, each button and hook a small seduction in itself, pausing every so often to nibble and kiss and stroke the warm flesh underneath. When at last she lay naked before him, she felt as though she’d not only been stripped of her clothing but turned inside out, her innermost recesses laid bare. She watched as AJ hurriedly removed his own clothes. There was a moment, looking up at him silhouetted in the moonlight, a figure seemingly wrought by hammer and chisel out of something more durable than flesh and blood, that she was certain she was dreaming.

But if so, it was a dream she didn’t want to wake from. view abbreviated excerpt only...

Discussion Questions

1. Have you ever wondered if there's a story behind the stories told to you by your parents about when they were young? If so, what do you think that story would be?

2. In THE DIARY, sisters Emily and Sarah discover an old diary of their mother's when she is on her deathbed . Sarah initially feels that to read it while she's still alive would be an invasion of her privacy. How would you react under similar circumstances?

3. The diary reveals that the young Elizabeth was in love with another man before she married Sarah and Emily's dad. Do you agree with Sarah's comment that every wife fantasizes at some point about what it would be like to be married to someone else?

Notes From the Author to the Bookclub

ο Describe the central idea of the book.

What happens when the image we have of our parents bumps up against the reality of who they are as people? Sarah wonders how her pie-baking, S&H green-stamp-collecting mother can be one and the same with the passionate young Elizabeth, who broke hearts and bucked the morays of the time.

ο What made you want to write this book? What was the idea that sparked your imagination?

When I was a teenager, I stumbled across a cache of semi-nude photos my dad had taken of my mom. They showed a sensuous woman who, in my mind, bore no resemblance to the bread-baking, churchgoing mom I knew. I was shocked, but it got me thinking: Who was she really? What was the relationship between my parents beyond what they revealed to their children? This gave rise to the story of Elizabeth and AJ.

What do you want readers to take away with them after reading the book?

I hope it will spark some dialogue between mothers and daughters. My message to every reader: After you've read THE DIARY, go talk to your mom. Ask about her life before she became a parent. Find out more about her girlhood hopes and dreams…and loves. It might lead to some surprising insights, or even revelations. If nothing else, it will enrich your relationship with her.

Book Club Recommendations

Member Reviews

Overall rating:
  "Fun read"by litimberlake (see profile) 03/31/11

I really liked this book. Very quick read! Maybe a good book for book clubs. What if you found your mother's diary?? What would you do? Twist at the end.

  "THE DIARY"by jendorf10 (see profile) 01/19/11

Our group had a majority of positive remarks. The discussion was interesting because one of the members who keeps a diary did not really enjoy the book as much as the rest of us. The discussion went... (read more)

  "The Diary-Best Book Club Ever"by kathyp28 (see profile) 12/03/09

The book was good, but not one of my favorites. We did have a great discussion because of the love story and of course the diary!

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