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."
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.