Emily Wilson is a New York writer whose husband has just left her for another woman. In order to deal with her emotions – and crippling writer’s block – she goes to visit her great aunt Bee’s home on Bainbridge Island in Washington State. While she is there, Emily discovers an old diary that tells the story of Esther, a woman caught in a love triangle in 1943. Emily’s attempts to find out what happened to Esther leads her to secrets long-since buried by her own family…and a love triangle(-ish) of her own.
This book was nice for a quick, easy read but I have a few issues with the plot that truly kept me from enjoying this book as much as I could. First of all, it annoys the crap out of me in family mystery sagas when an older character (ahem, Evelyn) makes it clear that she knows the answers to everything but refuses to tell because it’s something the younger character has to learn on her own. That’s dumb and cheesy and it takes all of the suspense out of the mystery. The attempt to make Emily’s present-day situation so closely mirror the events described in the diary also turned me off. I felt that the Greg storyline was shoehorned into the story solely to enable this mirroring, and it didn’t really contribute the bigger picture. Finally, I felt that the ending was a little rushed and that Lana and Esther make appearances in the final pages as Henry is on his death bed was way, way too cheesy without enough lead-up other than the need for a happy ending. The combination of deathbed/faked death/last-second reunion was excessively sentimental.
That being said, I found the characters to be likable and, for the most part, fairly dimensional. I could sort of see where parts of the plot were going, but not so much that I could resist the urge to keep going. Though the book didn’t completely blow me away, it was a pleasant way to spend a rainy afternoon.