The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton-a review
THE SECRET KEEPER by Kate Morton
THE SECRET KEEPER (released October 9, 2012) is one of those novels that I cannot explain in words. The amazing depth with which Kate Morton pulls the reader into the storyline left me dizzy and at times wondering about the world into which I was pulled.
In 1959 Laurel Nicolson, then 16 years old, witnessed a murder on her family’s farm and Laurel knew she had to keep a secret for fear her family would be torn apart. Little did she know that her entire life was built upon a lie. 52 years later, in 2011, Laurel will be called home as her mother lies dying and Laurel is determined to discover the truth behind that fateful day back in 1959. Throughout the story we follow Laurel as she uncovers her mother’s secret past through journals, photographs and the ramblings of a dying woman.
THE SECRET KEEPER takes the reader on a journey that spans close to 100 years. From the birth of an author to the death of woman whose heart had been broken too many times, the novel is divided into four sections that overlap each other as the story unfolds. Laurel is the daughter of Dorothy (Dolly) Nicolson, a beloved mother and wife, who raised a family and tended her husband with care and pride. But Laurel and her mother kept a secret that Laurel hoped her mother would finally acknowledge the truth.
The novel travels back and forth from present day to a time before the start of WWII when Laurel’s mother was a young woman in love hoping to start a life with the man of her heart. Then in a span of a few years down to a few months, the war would claim more than just the victims of a bomb. Heartbreak and sorrow, betrayal and pain, love and hate all mesh together when the lives of four people will become embroiled in a game of deceit and lies, and in the end, secrets that will be carried to the grave.
The characters are as emotionally colorful as they are distractingly real. You have empathy for a daughter about to lose her connection to the past, but with that comes the realization that everything she thought she knew about her family history had been a total lie. A death bed confession brings about a world of confusion when the mind of a dying old woman cannot be trusted to know fantasy from fact. But something Laurel’s mother said would trigger a waterfall of emotion and memories that start Laurel on a path to discover who was the woman they had all called Ma.
THE SECRET KEEPER is an amazing, well-written and emotionally draining look at the family dynamics built on lies and deceit. The character development and world building draws the reader into the storyline as though you were part of the action and conflict. Kate Morton’s look into the lives of desperate people during desperate times and it takes the love of a daughter to uncover the truth of what happened in 1941 and how it affected her family and her life in 1959. I cannot say enough about this amazing story. I was pulled in and held on for a ride that I will not soon forget. If you want a recommendation about the next book to read, pick up THE SECRET KEEPER and unravel the mystery alongside Laurel Nicholson as she uncovers the truth behind a life hidden behind a lie started so long ago.
Copy supplied by publisher (Simon and Schuster Canada) and Goodreads Firstreads.
Reviewed by Sandy