Book Review: The Secret Keeper – Kate Morton

Title: The Secret Keeper
Author: Kate Morton
ISBN: 9781439152805
Pages: 496
Release Date: October 16, 2012
Publisher: Atria Books
Genre: Historical Fiction, Contemporary Fiction
Source: Publisher
Rating: 4 out of 5

Summary:

Laurel Nicholson is an actress whose career is still going strong well into her sixties. Her mother, Dorothy, has a ninetieth birthday coming up, and Laurel has decided the time has finally come for some answers. When Laurel was sixteen, she witnessed a crime her mother committed against a stranger who came to their house. Now, Laurel wants to know the truth about that day and how it related to her mother’s mysterious history during World War II.

Review:

The Secret Keeper is an interesting novel that takes place in two time periods: the present, with Laurel as a narrator, and the past, with Dorothy as the one telling the story. Dorothy’s story is set before and during World War II, and Morton really transports the reader to that time. Her descriptions are absolutely vivid and the reader really gets a sense of what it was like to be alive during that time period: the excitement, but also the fear and loneliness. Morton balances that story well with the one during the present day, and happily, both storylines are equally engaging.

Laurel is an easy character to like and sympathize with, but her mother Dorothy is a bit more difficult. That’s not to criticize Morton; she intended Dorothy to be willful and stubborn, and it shows from beginning to end. There were times I wanted to put the book down because Dorothy was so self-deluded, and though I realized that the character was supposed to be that way, it was still difficult to swallow at times and impaired my enjoyment of the reading experience.

One of the things that Morton does best is write atmospheric, breathtaking reads, and while The Secret Keeper is enjoyable, it doesn’t quite have that gothic atmosphere I’ve come to love in her novels. It does, however, have a gripping storyline, and while some readers may guess the twist at the end of the book and the answer behind the mystery, it still makes for an enjoyable reading experience from beginning to end.

The Secret Keeper is a long novel, but it’s worth it if you’re looking for an absorbing read with incredibly realistic, well-developed characters. The historical aspects of the novel are well thought out and impeccably described, so it really speaks to Morton’s talent that she managed to make both the storylines interesting. This wasn’t my favorite of Morton’s books, but it’s certainly thought-provoking and would make a great book club pick if your group isn’t opposed to longer readers.

Other books by Kate Morton:

The Distant Hours
The Forgotten Garden
The House at Riverton

Affiliate Links:

Buy this book from Powell’s Books
Buy this book from Amazon.com
Buy this book from your local Indiebound bookstore

Comments

  1. That was a wonderful… Looking forward to read it.
    Thanks for the wonderful review.
    Do Reach me at Krazy Memoirs

  2. That was a wonderful… Looking forward to read it.
    Thanks for the wonderful review.
    Do Reach me at Krazy Memoirs

  3. Morton’s novels are all long! And pretty long-winded, but I find that I can be tolerant because she always knows where she is going. She doesn’t wander too much. And I guess they can’t all be “The House at Riverton”. I will eventually get this on audio, and my library just got “The Forgotten Garden” on audio so I’m going to fire that one up soon too.

  4. Morton’s novels are all long! And pretty long-winded, but I find that I can be tolerant because she always knows where she is going. She doesn’t wander too much. And I guess they can’t all be “The House at Riverton”. I will eventually get this on audio, and my library just got “The Forgotten Garden” on audio so I’m going to fire that one up soon too.

  5. I’ve read all her books and just got this one in the mail ! I’m glad to hear it was so good!!

  6. I’ve read all her books and just got this one in the mail ! I’m glad to hear it was so good!!

  7. My favorite of hers is The Distant Hours. This one is on my nightstand and I can’t wait to get to it. Great review.

  8. My favorite of hers is The Distant Hours. This one is on my nightstand and I can’t wait to get to it. Great review.

  9. I got this one at SIBA, and thank you for your honest and balanced thoughts on it. I am betting that this book will be wonderful, but also a little challenging as well.

  10. I got this one at SIBA, and thank you for your honest and balanced thoughts on it. I am betting that this book will be wonderful, but also a little challenging as well.

  11. All the books I am reading of late are really long. The current one is again 800 odd pages. I liked The Distant Hours the best. This is still a book I would like to read eventually.

  12. All the books I am reading of late are really long. The current one is again 800 odd pages. I liked The Distant Hours the best. This is still a book I would like to read eventually.

  13. I have loved the two of her books I’ve read and I’m participating in a read-along in Nnovember to read The House at Riverton. I can’t wait to check this one out too! She does meander, but I am pretty forgiving when the story is so good.

  14. I have loved the two of her books I’ve read and I’m participating in a read-along in Nnovember to read The House at Riverton. I can’t wait to check this one out too! She does meander, but I am pretty forgiving when the story is so good.

  15. I like the stories set in the WWI and WWII eras so this is definitely one for me. I also like the playback kind of story and this has got such positive reviews all over the blogs. Thanks for the post.

  16. I like the stories set in the WWI and WWII eras so this is definitely one for me. I also like the playback kind of story and this has got such positive reviews all over the blogs. Thanks for the post.

Leave a Reply

Comment Policy:  I welcome comments and read each one I receive. If your comment needs a response, I will provide it in a timely manner, as I read every comment I receive. Please keep your comments civil and polite! I reserve the right to delete any comments that are rude or inappropriate. Because of spam, I have to moderate comments on old posts. Please be patient - I will approve your comment quickly.

Before the tag in the Genesis footer: !-- Quantcast Tag -->