By Eileen Goudge
Vanguard Press; $12.95
Sharon Galligar Chance
Finding someone else’s diary is always thrilling; like a peek into someone’s secrets, someone’s private thoughts and dreams.
But what happens when those thoughts and dreams reveal a different side to the person who jotted them down, a side that the clandestine reader would never have imagined?
This is what happens in Eileen Goudge’s latest novel, “The Diary,” a wonderful tale of secrets, lost dreams, and new understanding of the past.
Two sisters, Emily and Sarah, are cleaning out their mother’s attic when they come across a diary. Curious as to what their mother was like when she was a girl, Emily begins to read sections of the leather-bound book and discovers a secret that could turn their lives upside down. Their mother had been in love with a man other than their father!
The women can’t ask their mother about the entries in the diary as she has had a debilitating stroke and is in a nursing facility. So they continue to read their mother’s words from the past.
Elizabeth Harvey had quite an active social life in the summer of 1951. She was practically engaged to her steady boyfriend Bob Marshall, had a decent secretarial job at the local hat factory, and put up with her domineering but loving mother. Her life seems planned out to the letter; that is until A.J. Keener re-enters her life at the county fair.
A.J. was the typical bad boy about town – not exactly a troublemaker, but seeming to fall into trouble wherever he went. He was sent to a juvenile facility after setting his uncle’s car on fire, and then had hit the fair circuit drawing caricatures and traveling throughout the country when he got out. But he had never forgotten a pretty little girl in his hometown that seemed to care about him.
As Elizabeth and A.J. renew their friendship, they find more feelings for each other than neither had experienced before. Elizabeth is torn between her loyalty to Bob, and her growing love for A.J. She pours her emotions into her diary, keeping a close record of her heartaches and desires.
As her daughters read her story, Elizabeth develops into a more complicated person than they had known simply as “mom.”
Eileen Goudge has written a deeply moving story that women of all generations will relate to and embrace. A beloved author of women’s literature, Goudge proves herself to be a true treasure to the reading world with “The Diary.” This novel is a perfect gift for the upcoming Mother’s Day holiday, or a wonderful present for oneself to enjoy on a beautiful spring day.