Friday, November 16, 2012

The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton

In The Secret Keeper, 16-year-old Laurel witnesses her mother brutally stabbing a man to death in their yard. Laurel doesn't recognize the man and is baffled as to why her loving mother, Dorothy, would do this. Fast forward 50 years, Laurel is now a famous actress. Her Mother, in poor health with a failing memory, is about to celebrate her 90th birthday. Laurel knows that she has one last chance to find out the truth about that man and how he came to die right in front of her eyes. Skipping between past and present, Morton tells their story taking the reader through WWII England to the present day.

I absolutely adored this book. I've read two of Morton's other books; this one is her best yet! I'm in such awe of her storytelling abilities. How does she come up with these stories and characters? It's nothing short of amazing. The suspense, particularly in the chapter endings, had me reading past my bedtime more than once. There's an overall sadness to the book with some very disturbing events, but it's such a wonderfully written book, I would read it all again in a heartbeat.

The present day story followed Laurel as she tries to solve the mystery, while the parts in the past followed Dorothy (Dolly), Vivien and Jimmy as they lived through the Blitz and went on with their lives the best they could.   Usually, in books like this, I typically like the historical part better than the present day parts. However, in this case, I liked them both equally.

I generally find that long books like this (450+ pages) have a middle section that lags a bit and loses my interest. Not so with this book. Each and every page held my interest until the very last page.

Speaking of the end, this book contains one of the best endings I've ever read. Really! I couldn't believe what was happening. In fact, I had to read a few sections at the end more than once to make sure I'd read them right. Brilliant! Absolutely brilliant. It's going to take some doing to top it. While the ending didn't make me cry, I did hug the book for some time after I finished it. I really wasn't ready to let go of the story or these characters, not after that spectacular ending.

New words:
charabanc (page 75): coach for pleasure trips
eisteddfods (page 79): Welsh festival of music and poetry
moue (page 81): pout
plimsolls (page 87): shoes
fulsomely (page 126): excessively complimentary
pilchard (page 140): small ocean fish
obsequious (page 190): flattering
fossick (page 199): rummage or look for something
stultifying (page 265): very boring
anodyne (page 328): bland
muniments (page 331): documents that support claim
fervid (page 332): showing enthusiasm
theistic (page 361): belief in God
upbraided (page 387): scold
moribund (page 405): declining

I read two other books by Morton: The Forgotten Garden (my review), and The Distant Hours (my review). I loved them both and would highly recommend them both.  I also have The House at Riverton on my to-be-read bookshelf.

Highly recommended. It's not only the best book I read this year, it's earned a spot on my list of all-time favourite books. I can't wait for Morton's next book.

For more information about this book, please visit Simon & Schuster's website.

For more information about the author and her other books, please visit Kate Morton's website.

I'd like to thank those nice people at Simon & Schuster for this review copy.

The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton, Atria Books (Simon & Schuster) ©2012. ISBN 9781439152805(Advance Reading Copy), 463p.

1 comment:

  1. I loved The House at Riverton, so I bought this one on Nook, but haven't gotten to it yet. Glad to hear it's worth the time investment. I'll move it to the top of the list.


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