This week at Great New Books, we’re celebrating THE SECRET KEEPER by Kate Morton by giving away 5 copies of the paperback, out on shelves last week. Thank you to Kate Morton’s US publisher, Simon & Schuster, for partnering with us in the giveaway.
The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton
A few years ago, I discovered Kate Morton, an author I enjoy reading more and more with each new book she writes. With her first three novels, The House at Riverton, The Forgotten Garden, and The Distant Hours, Morton became a worldwide bestseller. When her fourth novel, The Secret Keeper, published last summer, I raced to read it, admittedly with high expectations.
As with her first three novels, The Secret Keeper is made up of three different characters’ stories, told over three time periods, and set in London and rural England.
The book begins in 1961 with a young woman named Laurel. From a perch in a tree, she watches as a strange man approaches her family’s farmhouse and meets her mother. Seconds later, she witnesses a shocking crime. Though the family resolves the event as an accident, many years later, Laurel decides she must find out what really happened that day in her youth.
Many people in the book hide secrets; the story is about Laurel’s effort as an adult to dig them out. The narrative flows between the late 1930s and the Second World War London blitz to the present day, tying the stories of Laurel’s mother, Dorothy, and her friend, Vivien Jenkins, to Laurel’s present day quest.
The Secret Keeper sparkles with Morton’s trademarks: vivid details, lively characters, a dimensional past-and-present story, and a rich, multi-layered plot. It is a family mystery, and yet it is larger—it begs the question of how well we as children know the former lives of our parents, and how much we need to know to fully love.
Morton’s writing is beautiful and so finely tuned it draws you in and keeps you up late at night trying, and failing, to put the book down. And though it has a plodding start and one irritating and manipulative character, you must read on. For as you read, you’ll construct ideas and theories as to the unraveling of the secrets, but the end strikes with a startling and shocking secret, and renders the most satisfying of endings.
The Secret Keeper is a novel into which you can disappear. It is the best kind of story, one that when you turn the last page, you’ll want to begin reading again because it is that good.
The Secret Keeper is my favorite of Morton’s novels so far.
To enter the drawing to win one of 5 copies of The Secret Keeper, leave a comment (any comment) below, from Wednesday, July 24 until Friday, July 26 at midnight Eastern time. Great New Books will email the winners individually and announce them in the comments on Saturday, July 27. Thank you for joining us!