Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher, Simon and Schuster for providing an Advanced Reader’s copy.
The Secret Keeper is the newest novel by Kate Morton.
The novel begins in 1959 when sixteen year old Laurel is playing in her family’s yard when she spies a man walking up the driveway to her home. Then she witnesses a crime.
Fast forward to 2011, Laurel is a successful actress but has returned home due to the ill health of her mother. The events of that long ago day in 1959 re-surface and Laurel begins a quest to find out who the man was and how he was connected to her mother. Her first clue is an old photograph, recently discovered, of her mother and a friend from during World War II, Vivien.
The plot shifts between the present day as Laurel digs into the past and 1938-1941 London and the life of Dorothy Smitham, Laurel’s mother. Dorothy works as a companion to an elderly woman and volunteers for the war. Her story involves her boyfriend Jimmy and Vivien Jenkins, the woman from the picture.
Kate Morton always delivers a wonderful mystery filled with enchanting characters, family skeletons and plenty of twists and turns. She doesn’t disappoint in The Secret Keeper. As Laurel begins to dig into her mother Dorothy’s past, we are swept away to war-torn London, to the blitz and ghosts of the past.
Morton has the uncanny ability to make you want to flip pages as fast as you can to get to the bottom of the mystery and also slow down and savor every word of her exquisite prose. She writes as if you are reading a fairy tale, but a delicious, mysterious fairy tale bound to leave you melancholy with what if’s and of possibilities lost and found.
Reading a Kate Morton novel gives you a new appreciation for detective work and as she throws you the tiny crumbs that will eventually lead to the final reveal, you the reader play mini-detective and try to piece all of the parts together, discarding possibilities, altering theories and expanding on ideas.
I had a few theories that changed as I read it but surprisingly I suspected the final big reveal, although there were a few loose ends that I needed filling in. Regardless, it took nothing away from my enjoyment; I loved every heart-pounding moment.
The characters, as always, are sympathetic yet humanized, coming to life with every flip of the page. I particularly loved Laurel and Jimmy. Laurel especially gives voice to the doubts and theories that ran through my head. Jimmy is the quintessential good guy, you can’t help but love him.
Kate Morton does with aplomb what would be far-fetched and unbelievable with other authors. Her tales are full of mystery and twists and turns and she can leave you guessing until the final reveal. The Secret Keeper is available Today, October 16. Grab your copy, you won’t be disappointed.