The Secret Keeper
By: Kate Morton
My Rating: FIVE OUT OF FIVE STARS
Best for: Advanced 14 and up
Kate Morton is a story weaver!
My favorite stories surprise me. Sometimes it’s the engaging mystery, other times it’s the characters themselves. Many times it’s a great twist ending. Kate Morton is good at all the above, and her special talents shine extra bright in The Secret Keeper.
In 1961, a 16-year-old girl with an idyllic family and happy home life witnesses her mother murder a man in the first few pages–unprovoked, unexpected, unexplained. How’s that for an opening gambit?! Fast forward to modern day, the naive 16-year-old is now a wizened adult in her 50’s, and the mother is on her death bed. The wounds caused by the trauma of her childhood were never fully healed, and it’s time for the mystery to be solved.
Cue Kate Morton’s unique brand of story telling–or more accurate, story weaving.
With wonderful skill, Kate Morton begins to unfold the story through narratives of the past combined with discoveries in the present. We spend fascinating time in late 1930’s and early 1940’s London during the Blitz in this story, and I was so intrigued at the depiction of Londoners attempting to live normal lives during the day while bombs rained across their city all night. We get to see past of the mother who would one day kill a man, and learn of her life and love and hopes and dreams. Through the eyes of the daughter, we learn about the adoring and adored mother she became, and we wonder along with her daughter how this terribly incongruent past and present could possibly match up.
The story comes together beautifully, and I found true book-nerd joy in finally discovering how all the pieces fit.
Kate Morton fans will know this past vs present narrative is to be expected in each of her stories, and I found the application in The Secret Keeper to be particularly perfect. If you are new to Kate Morton, you will want to know her stories are very character driven, with deliberate plotting and lots of mystery to solve. There is not a lot of action, and if you are one who gets easily bored you might discover the pace slower than you like. But, if you’re able to let yourself be transported into another place and time, soak in the wonderful details, and be immersed in the lives of these fascinating fictional characters, I predict you’ll love The Secret Keeper as much as I did.
Regarding objectionable content, you can expect only 1 use of a strong four-letter word and one instance of very not-descript, off-screen sex. The violence is off-screen and minimal as well. I’ll say this book is best for advanced 14 and up, with the “advanced” tag simply because it’s a long 600 pages if your not used to character driven novels without much action.
I loved The Secret Keeper!