by: Kate Morton
Genres:Historical Fiction, Literary Fiction
Setting: London WWII, The English Country Side
During a summer party at the family farm in the English countryside, sixteen-year-old Laurel Nicolson has escaped to her childhood tree house and is happily dreaming of the future. She spies a stranger coming up the long road to the farm and watches as her mother speaks to him. Before the afternoon is over, Laurel will witness a shocking crime. A crime that challenges everything she knows about her family and especially her mother, Dorothy—her vivacious, loving, nearly perfect mother.
Now, fifty years later, Laurel is a successful and well-regarded actress living in London. The family is gathering at Greenacres farm for Dorothy’s ninetieth birthday. Realizing that this may be her last chance, Laurel searches for answers to the questions that still haunt her from that long-ago day, answers that can only be found in Dorothy’s past.
Dorothy’s story takes the reader from pre–WWII England through the blitz, to the ’60s and beyond. It is 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 and the unexpected consequences they sometimes bring. It is an unforgettable story of lovers and friends, deception and passion that is told—in Morton’s signature style—against a backdrop of events that changed the world.
‘The landscape of one’s childhood was more vibrant than any other. It didn’t matter where it was or what it looked like, the sights and sounds imprinted differently from those encountered later. They became part of a person, inescapable.’
‘… she and her tap shoes could be swept as easily as dust beneath histories carpet.’
Laurel is a successful actress in modern-day London. Seventy years earlier, her mother Dorothy is doing her best to survive war-torn London. As a child, Laurel witnesses a death that haunts her for the rest of her life. Laurel and Dorothy’s stories come together to form the dual timeline of a family’s secrets.
I love stories that take place in WWII London. I also love me some Kate Morton. She is one of my favorite authors and the ‘Forgotten Garden’ is one of my top five books of all time. I also loved the ‘Lake House’, ‘The Distant Hours’, and ‘The House at Riverton’ so I was super stocked to finally pick-up the ‘Secret Keeper’.
‘The Secret Keeper’ does not disappoint. It gives a personal look at what the blitz did to the population of London. It also gives us an in-depth at the relationship people form during extreme times. I really loved the characters personalities: Dorothy in her childishness, Jimmy in his idealism, Vivian in her aloofness, and Henry in his harness.
I love historical fiction but it can be a bit dry at times. I find that I enjoy it most when it alternates between the past and the present. Morton is a master at this and taking the tediousness out of historical fiction.
Dorothy’s past and present are woven beautifully and Laurel’s revelations through research propel the story forward. I did predict the twist halfway through (as Morton alway has a twist ending) but I wasn’t 100% sure I was right until the twist was revealed.
This novel is another favorite for me. While, ‘The Forgotten Garden’ is still my number, one this one is included in my favorites of all time.
Another great one from Kate Morton. Love my dual timeline historical fiction. Great for WWII buffs. #WWII #KateMorton #TheSecretKeeper Click To Tweet