Thursday, November 8, 2012

The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton



About the Book:

"1961 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."

(from Goodreads)

My thoughts:

This is going to be a challenging review to write as this was a highly anticipated book for me this year, and I've loved all of Kate Morton's previous books.  The Secret Keeper promised to be another multi-layered mystery of murder, secrets, and deceptions, and if you've read a Kate Morton book in the past, you know her stories are structured as if you are opening an elaborately wrapped present....only to find another carefully wrapped present inside.....and another....and another.....and another.....until finally you are  getting so close to the last box that holds the gift......and by this time you are full of anticipation and excitement and hoping that all of this layer upon layer of work will be worth the effort when you at last find the real present.

I'll be honest and say that it took me almost three-quarters of the book to really feel invested in the characters and in the story. At one point, I almost considered putting the book aside to read at another time.....perhaps I just wasn't in the right frame of mind for it or had my expectations too high. But I forged ahead, and once I got hooked, I was hooked. I finished the last part of the book in breathless wonder and turned the final pages in a flood of tears (in a good way). The ending was nothing short of spectacular, and I loved it -- bravo! Will it be a favorite Kate Morton book? No -- I missed the gothic overtones of her previous books and it took me much too long to feel connected -- but I certainly remain a solid fan of Kate Morton's style of storytelling.

4/5 stars

11 comments:

Melissa @ Confessions of an Avid Reader said...

Great review, Joanne. I also found this one a little slower at the start than Morton's other novels, but by about the 50 to 75 page mark I was totally captivated by the story and Morton's beautiful writing. I also cried at the end, something I can't remember doing in any of Morton's other books. While my rating is slightly higher at 4.5 out of 5 stars, I also missed the Gothic elements that featured so prominently in her other books.

Julie at Outlandish Dreaming said...

I plan on listening to this on audiobook, I was so pleased to see it's the same narrator who reads all of her books, I agree her tales are multi-layered and complex.

Mystica said...

Thank you for an honest review. Yours is not the first one I read which said it took a bit of time to get going with it!

Melissa Mc (Gerbera Daisy Diaries) said...

I just got this a few weeks ago..hope to read it over Thanksgiving break! Put the kids in front of the tv -- and me with a book! :)

Georgia Girls said...

I do plan on reading another of Kate Morton's books, but I had a difficult time staying with the first one I read, The House at Riverton. Maybe I read it at the wrong time of the year -- I usually save Gothic toned ones for fall. :)

Kim (I need to visit you more often ;)

Joanne said...

Kim - So good to hear from you! Yes, we do need to "visit" more often (I love your pinterest boards!) :)

Melissa G. - I hope you find some quality reading time over the Thanksgiving holidays, and I look forward to your thoughts on The Secret Keeper.

Mystica - Thanks, as always, for dropping by.....you know I'll be looking forward to your Mailbox Mondays!

Julie - I really have to start doing more audio books -- you are the Queen of Audio!

Melissa - It was hard to top The Forgotten Garden, and I hope she returns to a more "gothic" setting. I'm just not a big fan of WWII era books. But of course, I'll be the first one in line to buy her next book!

Meg @ A Bookish Affair said...

I just read this book and really enjoyed it. It was my first time reading Kate Morton!

Joanne said...

Meg -- You are in for a treat! If you enjoyed The Secret Keeper, you will love some of her other books! Happy reading!

Diana Leigh said...

I'm glad you were able to stick with it and that the ending was so good! I'm getting a copy of this one from the library soon - will be my first Kate Morton book.

I'm sorry to hear the Gothic elements were missing, because I love those kind of stories!

Holly (2 Kids and Tired) said...

Everyone raves about Kate Morton and I read the Distant Hours and could not get into it. Seriously. Maybe I should try again with this one...
2 Kids and Tired Books

Staci said...

Lucky for me I haven't read any of her books, yet! Maybe I will start with this one???!!!

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A Light on the Veranda
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The Queen's Vow: A Novel Of Isabella Of Castile
The Edwardians
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Instruments Of Darkness
When Maidens Mourn
Where Shadows Dance
What Remains of Heaven
Where Serpents Sleep
Why Mermaids Sing
When Gods Die
Shadowfever
Before Ever After
The Sugar Queen
Garden Spells
After the Night


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