Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Book Review: The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton


Title:  The Secret Keeper

Author: Kate Morton (author website)

Publisher: Atria Books (October 16, 2012)

ISBN 10: 1439152802

Pages: 496 pages

Format: Advance Copy provided by the publisher via

About the Book:  (from publisher)

The new novel from the New York Times and internationally bestselling author of The Distant Hours is a spellbinding mix of mystery, thievery, murder, and enduring love.

During a party at the family farm in the English countryside, sixteen-year-old Laurel Nicolson has escaped to her childhood tree house and is dreaming of the future. She spies a stranger coming up the road and sees her mother speak to him. Before the afternoon is over, Laurel will witness a shocking crime that challenges everything she knows about her family and especially her mother, Dorothy.

Now, fifty years later, Laurel is a successful and well-regarded actress, living in London. She returns to the family farm for Dorothy’s ninetieth birthday and finds herself overwhelmed by questions she has not thought about for decades. From pre-WWII England through the Blitz, to the fifties and beyond, discover 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, the lengths people go to fulfill them, and the consequences they can have. It is a story of lovers, friends, dreamers, and schemers told—in Morton’s signature style—against a backdrop of events that changed the world.

Setting:  England – 2011, 1961 and 1940



About the Author:

Kate Morton was born in Berri, South Australia. Morton is the eldest of three sisters. Her family moved several times before settling on Tamborine Mountain where she attended a small country school. She enjoyed reading books from an early age, her favorites being those by Enid Blyton.

She studied Speech a Drama at Trinity College London. Later she earned  first – class honors for her English Literature degree at the University of Queensland, during which time she wrote two full-length manuscripts (which are unpublished) before writing the story that would become the 2006 novel The House at Riverton.

Following this she obtained a scholarship and completed a Master's degree focusing on tragedy in Victorian literature. She is currently enrolled in a PhD program researching contemporary novels that marry elements of gothic and mystery fiction.

Kate Morton is married to Davin, a jazz musician and composer, and they have two sons; they live in the Brisbane suburb of Paddington.  (


Related Media:  Kate Morton talks about her new novel, The Secret Keeper.

My Review:     The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton starts out with Laurel as a child in 1961 witnessing a tragic event.  Then the story flashes to present day, Laurel is a successful actress that returns home and starts to piece together the secret history that led to of this tragic event.  She begins to piece together the tale of three individuals,  Jimmy, Dotty and Vivien  and the events that intertwined their lives together during the London Blitz in the 1940’s.   I like that the past portion of this book was based during the time of the London Blitz.  I have read many other books set in this time so it really came alive for me. It is an interesting time in history when lives change very quickly for people. 

To be truthful, I generally find that the use of flashbacks as a writing technique takes away from the flow of the story.  That is not the case with The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton.  The flashbacks are expertly executed and add so much to the telling of the story of Jimmy, Dotty and Vivien.  Their story is slowly revealed to the reader in bits and pieces, which adds to the suspense and mystery of the story.   Morton develops complex characters that evoke emotions from the reader.   You truly get a great feel of who Laurel was as a child as well as an adult.  Jimmy was definitely my favorite character.  I think I might have fallen a bit in love with Jimmy.   I just loved him!   And if I ever wanted to smack a character, that would have to have been Dotty. 

So that I don’t give away any of the secrets, I will say the 2nd half of the book really got me hooked.  I was so absorbed in the story that I read the last half of the book in one evening.  There was no way I was going to go to bed without knowing the ending to this story!  And let me tell you this, the ending does not disappoint!   I loved the ending!   You will just have to read The Secret Keeper to experience the slow reveal of the secret history of the characters.   Secret Keeper will be released on October 16th .  If you are looking for a good read……The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton is just that. 

My Rating: 4+  –  I really like this book!   The Secret Keeper is the first book by Kate Morton I have read and it will not be the last!!!  Just writing this review has me so excited to get my hands on another book by Kate Morton.  I know one is in my very near future.  The Secret Keeper did not grab me initially, but keep with it, I promise you will not be able to put it down in the 2nd half!  Kate Morton is a masterful story teller.  Oh, and I did lose quite a few hours of sleep over this book and read it in all the most inappropriate times and places….that is a sign of a truly good book in my world! 

My Rating Scale: 1 – didn’t like it; 2 – it was ok; 3 – liked it; 4 – really liked it; 5 – it was amazing

Other Bloggers Reviews :

Red Headed Book Child

So Many Books, So Little Time

Ageless Pages Reviews

Under a Gray Sky


Happy Reading!

**Disclosure – Advance copy of The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton received from NetGalley in exchange for a fair review. 

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