The Girl With The Empty Suitcase -Krysta Macdonald

“What is it about suitcases, lying there empty? Before a trip, they are full of uneasy anticipation. After, they are almost regretful, longing to go back to those unfamiliar hotel rooms, those airport carousels.
“Nothing symbolizes discontent like an empty suitcase. Or perhaps a roll of undeveloped film.”
The suitcase sat at the top of Danielle’s closet for years, holding memories, promises, and undeveloped film.

From struggling with homework to her final farewells with her parents, this is the story of one woman’s life and loves. Through hopes and laughter, heartaches and tears, Danielle is shaped by the family, friends, and romances around her.

Her emotional story is understated, nuanced. It does not give us sweeping romance, but rather a quiet, down – to earth reality, a reflection of expectations and regrets, of love and hurt. It gives us a woman, a window through whom we may see our own realities, our own challenges, our own quiet triumphs.

empty suitcase

Reviews are a great insight into the mind of a reader… So read on to see what readers on Goodreads think about The Girl With The Empty Suitcase.

“Nothing symbolizes discontent like an empty suitcase. Or perhaps an undeveloped roll of film” (85). Armed with both, Danielle can make her getaway, away from Mark, her husband, and into her art. The suitcase may be empty, the film may not become pictures, but they are far from void. Instead, they are full of intangibles: Danielle’s expectations and regrets, her hopes, fears and her vision for something better, something more. These symbols are her power. This isn’t just her story, however. Krysta MacDonald tells two first person narratives. Danielle and Mark alternate telling their tale over the course of forty years, from childhood, before they meet, to old age, after one of them has passed. Together and separately, they grapple to balance life goals, career, family expectations and affection. It is not a particularly colorful tale; rather, it is muted and understated. The sentences are short. The characters struggle to find words for their feelings; they come out sideways. Far from a fairy-tale romance, this book still conveys a heroic and enduring love. I was inspired by this down-to-earth, relate-able couple and MacDonald’s care for them.

Here is another….

LIFE! What we do with this life. The choices we make. The expectations thrust upon us. This is two characters, trying to find themselves and find their purpose. This is a story of love, loss, survival. Managing hurt, heartbreak, and disappointment. But most of all, a story of discovery. Discovery of healing and hope through it all.

Krysta MacDonald observes the connection of people. As the reader gets to know Danielle and Mark through their relationship, we identify struggles and the challenges of living up to our own assumptions. This could also be a good reminder to select what baggage we really want to hoist through life. Life is a boundless journey. Pack well.

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About the Author:

Krysta MacDonald writes about realistic characters confronting the moments and details that make up lives and identities.

She lives in the small Canadian town of the Crowsnest Pass in the Rocky Mountains, with her husband and a veritable zoo of pets. She has a B.A. in English and a B.Ed. in English Language Arts Education, and spends most of her time teaching, prepping, marking, and extolling the virtues of Shakespeare. When she isn’t doing that, she’s writing, and when she isn’t doing that, she’s reading. You can connect with Krysta via her website or social media.

The Girl with the Empty Suitcase is her debut novel.


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