Sunday, October 28, 2012

The Secret Keeper Review

I first started reading Kate Morton's books two years ago and they grabbed me immediately. She has four books out now: The Distant Hours, The House at Riverton and my favorite, The Forgotten Garden. She's an Australian writer who must also have ties to England as most of her novels take place there. There's a bit of a formula to her books, but that formula works.

Typically, her novels take place over two or three different time periods, one usually in the present, one often during WWI or WWII and often sometime in the middle.

The Secret Keeper is no different. The story begins in 1961 where teenager Laurel witnesses her mother, Dorothy, committing a dreadful crime. This moment shapes her life completely. In 2011, Laurel is in her 60's and is a well regarded British character actor. She travels back home to the big farmhouse where she was raised because her mother is now in her 90's and quite ill. Laurel still wishes to know what drove her mother to action when she was younger and as Dorothy lets some things slip in her old age, Laurel starts putting the pieces together.

The story also flashes back to 1941 London during the Blitz, where young Dorothy works as a companion for an older wealthy woman. She also volunteers for the war effort, is enchanted by her neighbor Vivian and is in love with a war photographer named Jimmy. Everything seems to be perfect for Dorothy until suddenly it all goes wrong.

I'm not going to give anything else about the plot away. If you liked Kate Morton's other books, you'll like this one. It has the usual twists and turns and an intriguing plot. There are multiple voices in the novel, including Dorothy and Laurel but also Vivian and Jimmy. Everything comes together in the end. To be honest, I guessed the major twist before the end of the book but to Morton's credit, I wasn't entirely sure that I was right. I think I guessed the twist behind a few of the other books too although it's been so long since I read them that I can't quite remember.

If you've never read a Kate Morton book, pick up The Forgotten Garden first. It's the best, I think. As I said before, if you like her other books, you'll be a fan of this one. If you like sweeping gothic/historical mysteries, Kate Morton is a really great author, whose books I will continue enjoying!

Buy it at amazon and Barnes and Noble 

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