Thursday, November 29, 2012

The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton

 “Children don’t require of their parents a past and they find something faintly unbelievable, almost embarrassing, in parental claims to a prior existence."

This is a hard book to review, since I can't really talk about the plot at all without spoiling it. But I'll try.

I adore Kate Morton. I've devoured each of her books in turn, and when I won a copy of The Secret Keeper, I was ecstatic. I couldn't wait to see what new mysteries and histories Morton had created for me to enjoy, and I was not at all disappointed. If anything, I was often more impressed than before, especially when it came to the discoveries I made as I went along.

The Secret Keeper is, like most of Morton's work, set in multiple time periods. The framework is the present (well, 2011, but close enough), where actress Laurel Nicolson is trying to unravel a mystery from her childhood during the last days of her mother, Dorothy's, life. At 16, Laurel witnessed something that she's never been able to forget, but she's never understood why it happened. The only way to find the answers she seeks is to delve into her mother's past, which we get to witness firsthand in pre-WWII through to the Blitz, through a variety of narrators, as Laurel tries to figure things out in the present.

There's not a lot more I can outline of the plot without ruining the journey. Morton has set up a novel filled with twists and red herrings, and while I thought I was a step ahead, I was totally wrong. And I LOVE that. She created a rich historically based world, and a series of characters that are well developed and interesting, from the wonderful Laurel, to the imaginative Dorothy "Dolly" Smitham, to the compassionate Jimmy Metcalfe, and finally the mysterious Vivien. I was equally excited to read as Laurel discovered things as I was to read what actually happened in jumps to the past.

The Secret Keeper is a rich, full story that fits right in with the rest of my Morton collection. A must read for Morton fans, and a fantastic read for anyone who enjoys a mystery, historical fiction, or just a really good book.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

A follow up before next year's CBR kicks off

Apparently I read 24 books after completing my half cannon.  And I'm almost done with another.  And have a short one lined up for right after this.  So odds are, by the end of this CBR, I will have actually READ the required 52 books for a full Cannon.  Now, they don't all count, since I didn't review them, and that's the name of the game here.  Read AND review.  But still.  Looking over my Goodreads and thinking about what I've read or listened to on my commute, I'm pretty stoked to have consumed that much literature!  The only book I feel was a total waste of time was The Marriage Plot, which really isn't a bad ratio of success to failure.  I didn't LOVE everything else, but Marriage Plot is the only one I gave up after the qualifying halfway point, but before the end.  I got about 75% of the way through it and was interrupted by Hurricane Sandy...and stayed interrupted.  I just don't give a rat's ass how it ends.  So that's that.

I may go so far as to actually do the full cannon next year, looking at this.  Bonus is that I can re-read anything from my current list of 52 that I didn't review and have it count next go (like with the Kingkiller Chronicles, which I plan to re-read before the new volume comes out in March).  I really do love this whole endeavor.  It's done a lovely job of encouraging me to get back into the habit of reading regularly, and that pleases me greatly.