The Secret Keeper: A Novel

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The Secret Keeper: A Novel

by Kate Morton

Atria Books | October 16, 2012 | Hardcover

The Secret Keeper: A Novel is rated 4.3 out of 5 by 10.
From the New York Times and internationally bestselling author of The Distant Hours, The Forgotten Garden, and The House at Riverton, a spellbinding new novel filled with mystery, thievery, murder, and enduring love.

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.

Format: Hardcover

Dimensions: 496 pages, 9 × 6 × 1.4 in

Published: October 16, 2012

Publisher: Atria Books

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 1439152802

ISBN - 13: 9781439152805

Found in: Fiction and Literature

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Reviews

Rated 5 out of 5 by from Page turner! I loved this book. I couldn't put it down and got so involved in the characters' lives. I was driving and actually missed a turnoff because I was thinking about the chapter I had just read. My favourite book by Kate Morton. She just keeps getting better and I can't wait for her next book!!
Date published: 2013-11-15
Rated 4 out of 5 by from The title tells the story, great read. This is a book where the title gives the story away – at least in the sense that there is a secret to be revealed. Kate Morton seems to have developed this style of writing, as many of her books do indeed have a secret which is revealed as we go back through history to find out about the characters in the novel. Again, characteristic of Morton, she has a lovely way of endearing the reader to the characters, particularly if they are elderly. Her descriptions usually show a tenderness and sensitivity that is really wonderful to read and see. So, the elements of this book that I liked were that the Secret Keeper quickly engaged the reader right from the beginning (which is definitely not the case for the Distant Hours – that I have tried and tried to read, but can’t get too far yet). The surprise beginning is just as great as the surprise ending. She engages the reader on another level in this book, because we are constantly trying to figure out what the story is and why the first chapter of the book took place. I like her descriptions of the characters – allowing us to visualize the character and understand them on a more multi-dimensional scale. And the ending is great. This book does not disappoint. I think some readers found the middle of the book to drag a bit, but I didn’t. I think there is something John Steinbeck-like in Morton’s writing of people. The story is important, but the characters are the appeal and the glue for the reader. Good job, Morton. I have read all of her books except the Distant Hours, and will go now and try that one again.
Date published: 2013-12-12
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Another Exceptional Read I just love Kate Morton's style of writing. The Secret Keeper follows along nicely with Kate's other stories. Her imagery is absolutely beautiful in all of her books. I close my eyes at night and can picture exactly where I am in the book. I haven't been dissapointed by any of her books. Can't wait for her to write another one.
Date published: 2013-10-25
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Excellent but one spot makes no sense to me. The Secret Keeper is typical Kate Morton. A mysterious family secret that is solved through flashbacks and is super twisty. I thought it was quite good, although very fluffy, great escapism. There is still one part in the first chapter where the mysterious crime happens that doesn't make a lick of sense to me, but it's a major spoiler so I won't elaborate.
Date published: 2013-10-25
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Very Enjoyable This is my second Kate Morton read, and while I enjoyed The Forgotton Garden, I think I liked this one a little more. There were a variety of characters, and telling the stories from different viewpoints certainly put different perspectives on things. It's one of those mysteries where you have it all figured out, and then you don't and then you do...back and forth. Kept me guessing. My favourite thing though, about this book, was the conquering of tradgedy. Not everything is fair and just but if you are a survivor you can get through it all, as long as you don't think the world owes you something - At least that was the message I got....Great Read! I give it a 4.5, and I can't wait to read another Kate Morton!
Date published: 2013-10-29
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Enjoyed this book and plan to read other Kate Morton Books! The Secret Keeper Kate Morton Publisher Summary: 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. Review: I really enjoyed the characters and the story line. I was drawn in from reading the summary. I worked so many scenarios in my mind while reading and only at the end I figured out the outcome. I loved the going between the two time lines. The reality of war was played out well and the events going on while secondary were very enjoyable. I really liked the current day characters who were siblings and while Gerry was not as involved as Laurel was it was a good sub plot between the siblings. There were times like at the beginning where things were a little confusing like the original conversation between Dorothy and Vivien in Dorothy’s room. I also felt that sometimes there was so much information that was a bit overwhelming. Since this is my first, but not last book of Kate Morton’s that I will read!! I would like to thank Net Galley and Simon & Schuster for allowing me to read and review this book in return for a free copy and I was never asked to write a favorable review by anyone.
Date published: 2013-10-29
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great book! I loved the descriptive writing style, ‘’Her life’s direction changed, just as surely as a weather vane spun circles in an unexpected storm (p.54)’’. Laurel, a 16 year old teen has witnessed a murder and has provided details to the police, thereby exonerating her mother of murder.
Date published: 2013-10-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from fantastic It is the best novel I have read in many years.Often an author starts running out of ideas . I have read all Kate Morton's novels and this last on is by far the best. Many twists and turns
Date published: 2013-10-29
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Another great novel by Kate Morton Kate Morton has written yet another endearing family saga novel set in an English country manor. The story begins in 1961 when a young Laurel witnesses her mother commit a shocking crime. Over the years, Laurel puzzles over what she witnessed that awful day. Now that she has reached her fifties, her mother is dying and as the family gathers, Laurel begins to question what she witnessed so long ago. Her questions take her into past decades, to the 30’s and 40’s to her present time of the 60’s. Slowly, motives and secrets are unearthed. What I enjoy most about Kate Morton’s work, is that beneath the surface, characters are never what they first appear. As one turns the pages, the story’s details unfold, shedding just enough light to keep one intrigued, but never enough to reveal all. Complex relationships, a touch of humor, a fabulously romantic setting, and dark secrets kept my interest, but it wasn’t until the last quarter of the book where I was truly gripped. A shocking revelation that made me rethink all that had been previously revealed. A great story and book to cuddle up with.!
Date published: 2013-10-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fantastic! It was raining, cold and damp the day I started to read Kate Morton's latest book - The Secret Keeper. And the perfect day to snuggle in to my favourite chair and lose myself in Morton's absolutely wonderful storytelling. The prologue of The Secret Keeper is a show stopper it will hook you and the tale will keep you enthralled until you turn the last page. Early 1960's England. Sixteen year old Laurel lives an idyllic life with her beloved mother, father, her three sisters and brother in an isolated house in the countryside - until the day a stranger surprises their mother outside their home. Laurel, hidden in a treehouse, witnesses this meeting - and it's shocking outcome. And although life carries on afterwards, there's an unmistakable rift in the fabric of their lives. "There were moments, Laurel solemnly believed, in which a person reached a crossroads; when something happened, out of the blue to change the course of life's events." Fast forward to 2011. The siblings are called back to Greenacres Farm; their mother Dorothy is approaching her 90th birthday and her health is not good. Laurel sees these final days as her last opportunity to get answers from her mother as to what happened that day over fifty years ago. "Not about Ma. I mean that young woman. She was a different person back then, with a whole other life we know nothing about. Do you ever wonder about her, about what she wanted, how she felt about things - Laurel sneaked a glance at her sister - the sorts of secrets she kept? Morton again effectively uses her technique of past and present narratives to tell Dorothy's story. We meet her in 1941 as 'Dolly', a vivacious seventeen year old girl with dreams and ambitions. I found myself immersed in the past as Morton sets the scene and tone of wartime England perfectly. I was completely captured by Doll's life, drawn in and on tenter hooks to see what happened next. And just at a crucial point, the narrative jumps forward to the present day. Laurel is determined to piece together the truth from the cryptic sentences and words her mother murmurs. Between those and the contents of an attic trunk, she and her brother pursue the past. We, as readers, are of course privy to more as we follow Dolly back to the 1940's and the events that lead up to that fateful day outside the farmhouse. I was so conflicted about Dorothy/Dolly - the woman the siblings know is so far removed from the Dolly of the war years. Which incarnation is true? And then a third narrative from the past is added in the last bit of the book. And this is, of course, when I stopped looking at the clock, because there was no way I was going to bed without knowing the ending. Oh, the ending! Morton has done it in previous books - caught me unawares in the final pages. She's done it again in The Secret Keeper - the ending has a fantastic twist. I went back and re-read earlier passages with a different eye. Morton's writing is rich and atmospheric, with a bit of a gothic feel. The story builds slowly and deliciously, with layer upon layer peeled away as secrets are revealed over the course of 450 pages. Kate Morton has another bestseller on her hands with The Secret Keeper - and it's one you'll want to get your hands on! It releases today. Highly, highly recommended.
Date published: 2013-10-29

– More About This Product –

The Secret Keeper: A Novel

by Kate Morton

Format: Hardcover

Dimensions: 496 pages, 9 × 6 × 1.4 in

Published: October 16, 2012

Publisher: Atria Books

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 1439152802

ISBN - 13: 9781439152805

About the Book

From the "New York Times"-bestselling author of "The Distant Hours." During a party at the family farm in the English countryside, 16-year-old Laurel Nicolson has escaped to her childhood tree house. She spies a stranger coming up the road and sees her mother speak to him. Before the afternoon is over, Laurel will witness a shocking crime that challenges everything she knows about her family and especially her mother.

Read from the Book

The Secret Keeper 1 RURAL England, a farmhouse in the middle of nowhere, a summer’s day at the start of the 1960s. The house is unassuming: half-timbered, with white paint peeling gently on the western side and clematis scrambling up the plaster. The chimney pots are steaming, and you know, just by looking, that there’s something tasty simmering on the stove top beneath. It’s something in the way the vegetable patch has been laid out, just so, at the back of the house, the proud gleam of the leadlight windows, the careful patching of the roofing tiles. A rustic fence hems the house, and a wooden gate separates the tame garden from the meadows on either side, the copse beyond. Through the knotted trees a stream trickles lightly over stones, flitting between sunlight and shadow as it has done for centuries, but it can’t be heard from here. It’s too far away. The house is quite alone, sitting at the end of a long, dusty driveway, invisible from the country lane whose name it shares. Apart from an occasional breeze, all is still, all is quiet. A pair of white hula hoops, last year’s craze, stand propped against the wisteria arch. A teddy bear with an eye patch and a look of dignified tolerance keeps watch from his vantage point in the peg basket of a green laundry trolley. A wheelbarrow loaded with pots waits patiently by the shed. Despite its stillness, perhaps because of it, the whole scene has an expectant, charged feeling, like a theater st
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From the Publisher

From the New York Times and internationally bestselling author of The Distant Hours, The Forgotten Garden, and The House at Riverton, a spellbinding new novel filled with mystery, thievery, murder, and enduring love.

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.

About the Author

Kate Morton was born in South Australia in 1976. She earned a degree in speech and drama from Trinity College London, an English literature degree from the University of Queensland, and a master's degree focusing on tragedy in Victorian literature from the University of Queensland. She also completed a summer Shakespeare course at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London. She is currently enrolled in a Ph.D. program researching contemporary novels that marry elements of gothic and mystery fiction. She won the Australian Book Industry Award for General Fiction Book of the Year in 2007 for her debut novel, The Shifting Fog, also known as The House at Riverton. Her other books include The Distant Hours and The Forgotten Garden, which won the Australian Book Industry Award for General Fiction Book of the Year in 2009.
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