Title: The Secret Keeper
Author: Kate Morton
Publisher: Atria/Simon & Schuster
Genre: Historical Fiction/Realistic Fiction
Date Read: October 2012
Synopsis: 1959 England. Laurel Nicolson is sixteen years old, dreaming alone in her childhood tree house during a family celebration at their home, Green Acres Farm. She spies a stranger coming up the long road to the farm and then observes her mother, Dorothy, speaking to him. And then she witnesses a crime.
Fifty years later, Laurel is a successful and well-regarded actress, living in London. She returns to Green Acres for Dorothy’s ninetieth birthday and finds herself overwhelmed by memories and questions she has not thought about for decades. She decides to find out the truth about the events of that summer day and lay to rest her own feelings of guilt. One photograph, of her mother and a woman Laurel has never met, called Vivian, is her first clue.
The Secret Keeper explores longings and dreams, the lengths some people go to fulfill them, and the strange consequences they sometimes have. It is a story of lovers, friends, dreamers and schemers, play-acting and deception told against a backdrop of events that changed the world.
Favorite Quote: ‘The city still has working phone booths?’ ‘It would appear so, unless this is the Tardis, in which case I’m in serious trouble.’
My Thoughts: Oh my goodness, where do I begin? I LOVED this book! Now, to be fair, one of my favorite novels is The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton so chances were good that I would like her newest novel. I was so certain that this would be true, though. I’ve heard from a few people that loved The Forgotten Garden nearly as much as I did that they just did not like her first novel, House at Riverton. So, when I saw that The Secret Keeper was offered as an advanced reader copy to reviewers, I accepted it with reservation. I told myself that I would read it with an open mind (all the while being afraid that Kate Morton was a “one hit wonder” with The Forgotten Garden).
Well, I’ve just read the last words within the last few minutes and I have decided that Kate Morton is one of the masters of stories that jump between different time periods and characters (is there an official name for this? I’ve heard a few: dual story lines, the “two nows structure”, etc.). I love stories like this, maybe because as a history major, I love to see how history affects our present lives and stories.
Anyways, back to my review…have I mentioned that I LOVED this story? It is beautiful and it is sad…it is about second chances and love and mystery. I couldn’t put it down. I had so many ideas on how the story would play out. In the end, I was happy with how Kate concluded the novel. She tied everything together nicely without seemed rushed about it or leaving loose ends.
I’ve read a few poorly written books lately (some I’m even able to finish) so it’s so refreshing to read something like The Secret Keeper.