The Secret Keeper

Kate Morton is a favourite author of mine, and her latest novel The Secret Keeper certainly didn’t disappoint. It’s a big book but it didn’t drag or seem lengthy, though at one point I thought it was getting predictable. But boy was I ever wrong! I keep forgetting Kate is an Australian writer because she writes like she’s from Dorset or London, using words like sticking plasters (ha! – band aids) and push chairs. The story starts off in the 1960s with 16-year-old Laurel Nicolson witnessing an act of murder, committed by – of all people – her mother, on a fine summer day at the family home, Greenacres, in the idilic English countryside. It was concluded the victim was a vagrant spotted in the area who happened upon the Nicolson home, and Dorothy was just protecting herself and her young son from possible harm. But Laurel is positive this man said hello to her mother and called her by name. This fact haunts Laurel for the next 50 years, and it is when the family is called together during the final days of Dorothy’s life to celebrate her 90th birthday that Laurel is determined to find out what really happened that day. Laurel learns that 2 people, Vivien & Jimmy, were increasingly important in her mother’s early life, and it’s a real puzzle to put the pieces together and come up with a clear picture of what happened that day when she was sitting in her tree house watching this strange man walk up the path to her family home. This is just the very beginning of the book, there’s lots to follow and I don’t think I’ve given anything away. The book takes the readers from pre-World War II to 2011, but it isn’t the least bit hard to follow the time frame or the chain of events. It’s a great story, a saga really, and it’s so well written. Especially the ending. I loved it.

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