Saturday, May 18, 2019

The Secret Keeper - Fiction Review

Goodreads:  The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton

Rating: Very Good
Source: Library

Description:  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.

Genre: Fiction

Why I Picked This Book:  I've really loved the other Kate Morton books so naturally I had to pick this one up.

My Impression:  This is my third Kate Morton book and it has everything I've come to expect from Morton's book - intensely atmosphere with an intricately woven plot - but with a bit more.  The characters are more vivid than I've found them in previous books and the mystery hooked me a bit more.  Just what happened on that long ago day?  Just who had Laurel witnessed her cheerful fun loving mother oh so casually murder and why?

The present day storyline is told through Laurel Nicholson's POV.  She is the oldest daughter of Dorothy Nicholson whose past life has always been a bit of a mystery  but who is now at the end of her life.  Laurel, a well known actress, becomes obsessed (but not in an unhealthy feeling way) with determining just who her mother was and how the dead man in the garden factored in to that past.  While Laurel does have sisters they are very much side characters and not only do we never see their perspective on things but they aren't particularly fleshed out.  Because the story was so full and the focus was really on Dorothy Nicholson I don't think I even noticed this until the end.  I loved Laurel's little brother Gerry's role in the story and only wish there could have been more of a collaboration between the two but then I'm a sucker for a team style investigation so I might be a bit biased.

The 1940s storyline is a bit more of a fly on the wall POV with most of the focus on Dolly Smitham who is living in London away from her family during the war.  I was never quite sure what I thought of Dolly.  I'd think that I disliked her and then something would happen and I'd swing to feeling sorry for her or even liking her and then I'd be back at disliking her.  I was so intrigued by just what had happened to in the 1940s that led to the present day storyline and the questions of that day in the garden.

This is a long book but not one that ever felt like it dragged.  I was completely caught up in this one and thoroughly enjoyed the read.  I'm looking forward to visiting Kate Morton's world again soon.

Would I Read More of this Series/Author?  Absolutely!  In fact I have another Morton book on my desk waiting to be read.

Would I Recommend this Book?  I would.  This is a wonderful bit of historical fiction with a bit of mystery and all kinds of family secrets. 


  1. This is one of my favorite books! ♥

  2. Good to hear that you really liked it and its one I have to look forward to.

  3. I need to to read her! I'll have to add this book specifically though.

  4. I ADORE Kate Morton. Her books are all kind of the same, but I love them. They always satisfy :)

  5. I love the sound of this book. Characters that pull us in; secrets from the past; and lovely settings. Great cover, too! Thanks for sharing.

  6. The twist in this book was brilliant. I was so confused about my mixed feelings for Dolly...

  7. Ack, you've reminded me I need to finish The Clockmaker's Daughter, one I'd probably have to reread. I am sometimes iffy with historical fiction family secret plots as I can get impatient.