Alice Hoffman, the bestselling author of The Rules of Magic, asks how we can find the courage to face the unthinkable in this compelling New York Times Notable Book.
When Ethan Ford fails to show up for work on a brilliant summer morning, none of his neighbors would guess that for more than thirteen years, he has been running from his past. His true nature has been locked away, as hidden as his real identity. But sometimes locks spring open, and the devastating truths of Ethan Ford's history shatter the small-town peace of Monroe, affecting family and friends alike.
Now, the police are at the door. Ethan Ford's life as an irreproachable family man and heroic volunteer fireman has come to an end - and Jorie Ford's life is coming apart. Some of the residents of Monroe are rallying behind Ethan. But others, including his wife and son, and wondering what remains true when so much is shown to be false - and how capable we really are of change.
- Lora S.
Medetation on consequences of secrets revealed
I found this book to be more of a long meditation on the consequences of secrets revealed, perceived betrayal, and acceptance of loss.
One day, over thirteen years after it happened, Kat Williams sees the face of her next-door neighbor on television in conjunction with a murder. She feels it is her duty to turn him in. But later on, she is sorry that she did.
Ethan Ford has been living an exemplary life in Monroe, Massachusetts since a few days after that long-ago murder. He had been on his way somewhere else when he happened to stop in Monroe for a drink and ran into Jory, the girl he eventually married. They have been madly, passionately in love ever since. And Ethan has been an active member of the volunteer fire department, a coach for the little league team, and the owner of a small business (he repairs and remodels homes) for much of that time. He and Jory have a son, Collie, who is Kat Williams’ best friend.
The people in Monroe have strong opinions about the murder charges. Some of them, jealous of Ethan and Jory’s happiness, are only too happy to believe the worst, and begin to vilify him publicly and insult Jory and Collie to their faces. But many of the others – those who have worked with him in the fire department, and in particular the plumber he works with on the home remodeling and the lawyer who coaches the little league team with him – are immediately certain that it can’t be true. Or that if it is, he should receive clemency for his good behavior ever since.
The most surprising reactions, however, are those of his wife and son. At first, of course, they are in shock and don’t believe it. But once Ethan confesses to them, they feel somehow betrayed, and while much of the rest of the town launches a campaign to save Ethan, Jory and Collie find they can no longer bear to face him.
Jory undertakes a journey to the scene of the crime trying to understand what happened. And somewhere along the way her relationship with her lifelong best friend, who has tried all along to be supportive, but who has just been diagnosed with cancer, becomes of more immediate importance to her than her relationship with the husband who kept such a devastating secret from her for more than a decade.
My favorite character is Kat. She is a rather hard bitter person for a young teenager, but some of this is because she has her own problems. Her father committed suicide almost exactly a year earlier, and she is still trying to deal with this. This allows her to understand Collie better and help him with his feelings. Her methods of working out her own salvation are interesting, to say the least.
I thought the narrator did a good job. I was a little taken aback by her accent for some of the characters at first until I realized she was giving them a Massachusetts accent. You get used to hearing southern, western, and country accents specifically given to characters. It is more unusual to hear discernable northern accents in a performance.
- Loves Books
Unlock the Mystery
What did you love best about Blue Diary?
The solid story.
Who was your favorite character and why?
Jory. Honest, fair and truly in love with her roles as wife, mother and friend.
Which scene was your favorite?
When Jory went searching for the truth about her husband.
Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?
When Jory decides to leave behind her old life in order to secure a better life for her son.
Any additional comments?
A well written page-turner.
I rated "overall" 5 stars because it would have been a very satisfying story if it had an ending. I guess there's a sequel out there somewhere. I'm going to look.
like the author but was very disappointed
What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?
I have always liked Alice Hoffman but ordered this book by mistake and didn't even listen to the first hour =( It was very long and drawn out & much more dramatic thsn others by the same author.
Has Blue Diary turned you off from other books in this genre?
I will be more careful choosing books by Alice Hoffman.
How could the performance have been better?
The performance was too breathy and full of doom.
If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from Blue Diary?
I couldn't even get that far into the book.
Any additional comments?
I will have to be moreful choosing books.
This is my first download for my new iPod Touch and I couldn't be more disappointed - the quality is terrible, where did they find this narrator??? It is unlistenable.