Saturday, November 3, 2012

The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton

From the New York Times and internationally bestselling author of The Distant Hours, The Forgotten Garden, and The House at Riverton, a spellbinding new novel filled with mystery, thievery, murder, and enduring love.

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 this may be her last chance, Laurel searches for answers to 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.

Kate Morton has written yet another endearing family saga novel set in an English country manor. The story begins in 1961 when a young Laurel witnesses her mother commit a shocking crime. Over the years, Laurel puzzles over what she witnessed that awful day. Now that she has reached her fifties, her mother is dying and as the family gathers, Laurel begins to question what she witnessed so long ago. Her questions take her into past decades, to the 30’s and 40’s to her present time of the 60’s. Slowly, motives and secrets are unearthed. 

What I enjoy most about Kate Morton’s work, is that beneath the surface, characters are never what they first appear. As one turns the pages, the story’s details unfold, shedding just enough light to keep one intrigued, but never enough to reveal all. Complex relationships, a touch of humor, a fabulously romantic setting, and dark secrets kept my interest, but it wasn’t until the last quarter of the book where I was truly gripped. A shocking revelation that made me rethink all that had been previously revealed. A great story and book to cuddle up with.!

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