It was with much anticipation that I took Kate Morton’s latest book on holiday with me recently. I loved The Distant Hours and I was expecting another gothic mystery. The cover looked inviting and appealing in an historical fiction kind of way.
I started The Secret Keeper on the plane flight expecting to be whisked away into another Daphne du Maurier style story. It didn’t quite happen that way.
I thought I was tired and distracted. So I persevered over the next two days…until I found myself skimming paragraphs, then whole pages and finally, I skimmed my way to the end to see if I had solved the ‘secret’…and I had.
I was so disappointed I nearly cried.
The story was so slight, so easy, so uncomplicated I was bored. It felt lilke Morton was going through the motions, writing to a formula that was missing the ‘x’ factor! Maybe I was just having a bad day. But I ended up leaving my copy of the book in the B & B we stayed at – perhaps someone else will enjoy it!
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.