My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Have you ever read a book that makes you wish for actually being there and experience everything thru a character’s eyes? Well, Kate Morton is an author who always manages to achieve that for me. She has this great ability to write in such a fashion that each and every image is crystal clear in our mind and the emotions that are attached to the scene are conveyed beautifully. The Secret keeper is the story of a daughter’s quest to understand her mother’s one break from character. As a young teenage Laurel watches her mother commit a crime and bears witness to it, she’s bound by secrecy to help protect her parents. Decades later, Laurel still haunted by the memories of that summer, sets about exploring her mother’s past which takes us to end of WW II and the stories of Jimmy, Dolly and Vivien whose lives becomes entangled in a very complex manner.
The whole era comes alive, and bombing and the Blitz can be felt and Jimmy’s character was brilliant. The family dynamics of the siblings was another lovely touch, It makes for some joyful reading. But like most books in this genre, it is the past that haunts us and even after the final page leaves a mark. Vivien’s strength to make something of her life was invigorating and exemplary.
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.