During a summer party at the family farm in the English countryside, sixteen-year-old Laurel Nicolson has escaped to her childhood tree house and is happily dreaming of the future. She spies a stranger coming up the long road to the farm and watches as her mother speaks to him. Before the afternoon is over, Laurel will witness a shocking crime. A crime that challenges everything she knows about her family and especially her mother, Dorothy—her vivacious, loving, nearly perfect mother.
Now, fifty years later, Laurel is a successful and well-regarded actress living in London. The family is gathering at Greenacres farm for Dorothy’s ninetieth birthday. Realizing that this may be her last chance, Laurel searches for answers to the questions that still haunt her from that long-ago day, answers that can only be found in Dorothy’s past.
Dorothy’s story takes the reader from pre–WWII England through the blitz, to the ’60s and beyond. It is the secret history of three strangers from vastly different worlds—Dorothy, Vivien, and Jimmy—who meet by chance in wartime London and whose lives are forever entwined. The Secret Keeper explores longings and dreams and the unexpected consequences they sometimes bring. It is an unforgettable story of lovers and friends, deception and passion that is told—in Morton’s signature style—against a backdrop of events that changed the world.
My thoughts on The Secret Keeper – What can I say? What can I say? This was my first Kate Morton novel and I am in like. Here is a time weaving tale of mystery and intrigue. I didn’t see the massive plot twist coming. Well done! Well done!! SPELLBOUND.
I love to read a good historic novel that paints a realistic picture of the past and Morton does not disappoint. I felt like I was in wartime London. I remember thinking here is all this devastation going on around all these people and all the while there they are trying to maintain a semblance of everyday life. Going to work and clubs and restaurants, not knowing if they would make it through the next air raid at night. CAN YOU IMAGINE??
Her characters are so realistic and reflective of many of people’s personality’s. Her first person accounts for each character in turn make you identify with their feelings and ambitions and you easily fall in and out of like with some of them.
Take Dolly for instance. A day-dreaming and over-imaginative person who only thinks of how to get ahead. At a time like that! It’s funny and awesome that you can start out really liking her and then realize chapter after chapter that she’s actually a spoiled asshole.
I loved the mystery surrounding Vivien. Even though you know there is more to her than meets the eye (or page) until her story starts to come through she is a bit of an inigma. I enjoyed the bitter sweet ending too. Not all those who love win in the end.
What I didn’t like – This was my second attempt at a Kate Morton novel. I have to admit if I didn’t start the book on CD in my car on my commute to work I might not have kept at it. Her writing doesn’t grab you right off the bat. I find that you have to read for a long time before the stories start to come together. I’m reading The Forgotten Garden now and having the same struggle but I hope it will be worth the wait.
Why I Recommend It – If you like historical drama and mystery you will like Kate Morton. There’s no fluff.
Check out this cool video with Kate Morton discussing The Secret Keeper and her inspirations for the book!
About the Author – https://katemorton.com