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.

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