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The Secret Keeper: A Novel by Kate Morton
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The Secret Keeper: A Novel (edition 2012)

by Kate Morton

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,3251215,869 (4.07)80
Member:klpm
Title:The Secret Keeper: A Novel
Authors:Kate Morton
Info:Atria Books (2012), Edition: First American Edition, Hardcover, 496 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****1/2
Tags:fiction, England, mystery, London, war, family

Work details

The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton

  1. 60
    The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield (thebooky)
    thebooky: gothic in style
  2. 60
    The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton (2LZ)
    2LZ: Kate Morton is an an amazing author and storyteller. The Forgotten Garden is one of my favorite novels, and I thought it was even better than The Secret Keeper.
  3. 20
    Atonement by Ian McEwan (joririchardson)
    joririchardson: Both books begin with a young girl witnessing a crime of sorts that will powerfully affect her own life and the lives of her family members. Both books also are set in England during World War II.
  4. 10
    The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins (pdebolt)
    pdebolt: Similar in tone and intricacies of their mysteries.
  5. 00
    Stone's Fall by Iain Pears (BookshelfMonstrosity)
    BookshelfMonstrosity: The unearthing of secrets in different eras tie together these atmospheric historical novels, and while there are family secrets at the heart of both (as well as a rather suspicious death), Stone's Fall ties into more contemporary events as well.… (more)
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» See also 80 mentions

English (116)  Spanish (3)  Dutch (1)  All languages (120)
Showing 1-5 of 116 (next | show all)
I enjoyed this book and found it hard to put down. It went back and forth between current time and the WWII time period, but each switch was labeled so it wasn't confusing. The plot involved a woman trying to discover the secret of her mother's past, and the twist at the end made for a very satisfying ending. ( )
  cindyb29 | Jan 28, 2015 |
It's not your standard mystery -- no detectives or cops (really). Rather, it's sort of a family saga, multi-generational historical fiction with a compelling mystery wrapped up in it. It's a quick read, and it's one of those that is highly satisfying when it's all said and done.

What's it about? The blurb (so I don't inadvertently add anything by attempting my own synopsis ;)): "During a picnic at her family’s farm in the English countryside, sixteen-year-old Laurel Nicolson witnesses a shocking crime, a crime that challenges everything she knows about her adored mother, Dorothy. Now, fifty years later, Laurel and her sisters are meeting at the farm to celebrate Dorothy’s ninetieth birthday. Realizing that this is her last chance to discover the truth about that long-ago day, Laurel searches for answers that can only be found in Dorothy’s past. Clue by clue, she traces a secret history of three strangers from vastly different worlds thrown together in war-torn London—Dorothy, Vivien, and Jimmy—whose lives are forever after entwined. A gripping story of deception and passion, The Secret Keeper will keep you enthralled to the last page." (from Amazon)

It has plenty of "what?!" and "a-ha!" and "no ... that can't be..." moments, and an abundance of "aww" and "so sweet!" and other touching and moving moments. It's a great book for discussion and a great book for pondering.

The only things that I thought could use some improvement, as far as the writing was concerned, are the following: (1) I felt that there were a few characters who seemed like bit characters or those you didn't need to "hold onto" in your brain that later turned out to matter.... and so I found myself flipping back and forth a bit more than normal to try to remember who is this person that suddenly I'm supposed to remember; and (2) I thought the end, though great and satisfying in many ways, was a little abrupt. Can't say more, but there you have it.

Overall, a great book. I'm happy that my 2nd Morton didn't disappoint!
Definitely recommend. ( )
  avanders | Jan 20, 2015 |
I figured most of it out, don't worry, no spoilers here, probably only because a couple of friends let me know there were some real twists and it kept me thinking. And still I sat there sobbing at the end - how could she manage that? I definitely did not like this one as much as The House At Riverton. Too much time spent on things that were not likeable to get to the happy bits, which were really only bittersweet. And Laurel herself was underdeveloped. Sorry, but not a real winner for me. ( )
  MaureenCean | Jan 1, 2015 |
This is a wonderful book. I loved how the author takes you back and forth between present day and 1941 to unravel the mystery of Dorothy's secret. I had trouble putting this book down. I think this will be a book that I will want to read multiple times! ( )
  MiriamMartin | Dec 12, 2014 |
I listened to the audio version of The Secret Keeper (loved the narrator)--this was my first book by Kate Morton. It started out a little slow and the intensity heated up along the way. The setting England 1960s and the Nicholson family is celebrating their youngest child’s birthday. Laurel (16) sneaks away for her treehouse, when she sees a man walk up the road and speak to her mother and little brother. Then she cannot believe, her mother takes the cake knife and stabs the guy. She and her mother never speak of the event again. The book jumps to 2011 and Laurel returns to visit her elderly mother and is determined to discover what happened that day before her mom dies.

The book jumps back and forth between the war 1940s and present day. Dorothy (mom)’s past is uncovered, going back to her teenage years and her romance with Jimmy and friendship with Vivian. I had to go back and listen to the audio several times as when you are driving or get distracted --you do not want to miss a thing!

A suspenseful novel with lots of twists and turns and keeps you hanging to learn of the next outcome. The characters are very well developed and the author clearly captures the emotions.

Lots of hidden secrets, a historical romance and mystery. I am typically not a huge fan of historical fiction; however, feel I would have enjoyed it better had I read on e-reader versus audio since it was moving back and forth in time.

I strongly recommend this book to lovers of mystery and historical fiction and look forward to reading her previous books. Very well done!! ( )
  JudithDCollins | Nov 27, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 116 (next | show all)
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Kate Mortonprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Elisabet W. MiddelthonTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lee, CarolineNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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For Selwa, friend, agent, champion
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Rural England, a farmhouse in the middle of nowhere, a summer's day at the start of the nineteen sixties.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Book description
Fifty years after she witnessed a shocking crime at her family's farm in the English countryside, Laurel, now a successful London actress, returns to the farm and is overwhelmed by family secrets she has not thought of in decades.
Haiku summary
Dorothy, Jimmy
And Vivien - lives entwined
During London Blitz.
(passion4reading)

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(see all 2 descriptions)

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.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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