Book review: The Secret Keeper - Kate Morton
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.
When trying to come up with a way to describe my reading experience, reading The Secret Keeper, I kept struggling with the mix of being completely taking by surprise by several plot twists, and having found the reading progress - especially for the first half of the book - rather slow.
I think it took me rather long to really get to know the characters - both past and present - well enough to really feel a connection to them and becoming absorbed in their story.
By the time the secrets started to unravel, however, I couldn't get the book out of my mind. I loved how unexpected Dolly's story turned out to be and the setting of London during the London Blitz was something completely new to me. Without a focus on the war, the atmosphere of the time and the way people's perspectives change during a turbulent time like that were displayed wonderfully.
From reading Kate Morton before I already knew how good a storyteller she is and her descriptions of both past and present have the ability to transport you to another (time and) place with just a few lines.