England, 1959: Laurel Nicolson is 16 years old, dreaming alone in her childhood tree house during a family celebration at their home, Green Acres Farm. She spies a stranger coming up the long road to the farm and then observes her mother, Dorothy, speaking to him. And then she witnesses a crime.
Fifty years later, Laurel is a successful and well-regarded actress, living in London. She returns to Green Acres for Dorothy’s 90th birthday and finds herself overwhelmed by memories and questions she has not thought about for decades. She decides to find out the truth about the events of that summer day and lay to rest her own feelings of guilt. One photograph, of her mother and a woman Laurel has never met, called Vivian, is her first clue.
The Secret Keeper explores longings and dreams, the lengths some people go to fulfill them, and the strange consequences they sometimes have. It is a story of lovers, friends, dreamers and schemers, play-acting, and deception told against a backdrop of events that changed the world.
©2012 Kate Morton (P)2012 Bolinda Publishing Pty Ltd
I would recommend the book but not the audio book. The dialects performed by Miss Lee were awful. It was completely distracting and difficult to listen to. I am British and may have high standards, but have never been so annoyed. I have listened to other Books performed by this Actress and they were excellent while she was in her native Australian or Standard British which was passible. This Book incorporated northern dialects which ended up sounding like some odd combination or Irish and Cockney, thoroughly grating and annoying. I had to stop listening several times in frustration but returned because of the draw of the story it self. The story is quite compelling, if a little predictable. The Hidden Garden was much better as a book and Lee's narration was easier and more forgivable as the main character in the that book is in fact Australian.
I will avoid any performance Miss Lee has incorporating British Dialects. I will however seek out her Austrailian book, as she is a compelling narrator, just terrible at most British dialects.
I should have just read it.
Say something about yourself!
I have listened to all Kate Morton's books twice, with about a year in between readings. Much of the reason is due to the brilliant narration by Caroline Lee. I LOVE listening to her. I'd be happy if she stopped by and read the want ads out loud. But great narration is nothing without good material. Morton always delivers intriguing characters, many who have my same worries, wants, and wishes. The twist in this book that comes near the end made me laugh. I don't know...maybe someone a tad smarter might have figured it out. But I didn't. When the twist became clear, I found myself thinking how brilliant Morton is.
You name it...women I can relate to, an intricate story that spans WWII to the present, old secrets...and Caroline Lee to read it all to me. Perfection.
As an avid reader who is now legally blind and unable to read hard copy books, I am dependent upon narrators to bring the story alive for me. Caroline Lee does this with award winning aplumb. She has a beautiful voice, and knows how to craft it in order to define each character. Yet she keeps her own voice--I really hate it when female narrators strain to voice male characters--and when male narrators falsely voice women. It ends up being inauthentic as well as annoying. But Lee seems to know this and reads with truth and beauty.
I finished it in about three days. I was not initially drawn into the book as much as with Morton's previous books, but I became hooked soon eneough.
Morton brings gothic sensibilites to a modern mystery spanning sixty years. She is a masater of her craft. And, as I've already said, I'd listen to anything from Caroline Lee.
When I have finished with a Kate Morton book I am left with a sad sense of disappointment because I don’t want the story to end. I want to know more. I want to sit and chat with the protagonist and chew the story over. But sadly with this new book I have to say I was glad for it to finally be over. I’m still shocked that I feel that way. I find myself reexamining the feeling to be sure that’s what I really feel, and yes, sadly, it is.
The characters of “The Secret Keeper” were extremely difficult to empathize with. I struggled from the very beginning to find one to latch onto, to root for. The leading characters were, for the most part, neither endearing nor engaging, however I slogged through the book, sure that Kate Morton wouldn’t let me down, and near the end I finally found what I had been looking for. The last third of the book held me riveted and redeemed the story. I finally discovered the character I wanted to keep as my imaginary friend. Sadly, it was too little too late.
Caroline Lee’s delivery of the book was, as always, sublime.
Avid Audiobook listener. Mostly like historical fiction or contemporary mystery/suspense.
The book starts our very slow and not until you're halfway through do you start to realize the plot is moving. Its not until the last couple of hours did I figure it out and even then had some good surprises. My favorite Kate Morton book so far!
The only reason I kept on with this book is that I was doing outside labor and it was better than nothing. I also hate to delete a book I have paid for so I kept on. Then came the actual story.
Why this author had to drag out the first 2/3rds I don't know. Could I say it was worth the time to get to the last 1/3rd? I'm not sure, but it was fascinating. I had no idea of the ending and the ending was so.....great.
Obviously, my review is mixed. Am I glad I read this book? Yes I am. Would I read another by this author? I think I would try one more.
As I got closer to the end, it was more and more interesting. I didn't want to turn it off and I wasn't disappointed.
I rated the story itself as a 4 star but know you are in for a long and draggy beginning and middle.
The narrator was very good and could change accents seamlessly.
It would have made an excellent short story.
Kate Morton can take the seed of a good story and flog it into a shapeless mess.
I am a fan of Kate Morton. This book is a story of a mother, with a secret to hold, that impacts generations of her family. I would like to reveal the secret, but that wouldn't be fair, and would ruin a major twist in the plot. However, I will say there is a murder, WWII bombing, class-warfare, childhood beliefs about causing deaths, and those things that we would just as soon not know but discover inadvertently. It is also a story of letting go of a parent -- first through the loss of intellectual faculties and then through actual death.
As expected from Morton, the descriptions of characters, places, and experiences is wonderful.
Glad to be part of the audible community and I hope that my reviews help to choose the right book and share my love of reading.
Yes I would listen to it again, as not to miss the nuances and some transitions.
I liked Laurel.
No, no extreme reaction, just a good book, that I will reread again.
Worth the credit!
Kate Morton has a unique way of telling stories from the past,and the present, that excites me as it develops mystery, clues , and answers, all at the same time. So many friends and reviewers said that the ending was shocking. Being a real mystery lover, I did figure out the 'surprise' very shortly into the book. But interestingly enough, I think that Kate Morton's writing is so exquisite, that confirming my suspicions a little more with each chapter, actually greatly added to my joy while reading this book. Every time something happened, my first thought was of how cleaver this story was unfolding!!
The basic plot was simple enough. A young girl witnessed the shocking episode of her mother killing a man who showed up at their home. It was ruled self-defense, and the child was asked to keep this event a secret from her siblings. Sixty years later, as all the siblings gather for their Mom's 90th birthday, and final days of her life, questions and new answers are discovered. Love, friendship, WW1 War time bombings in England, and families broken apart all added to the fascinating truth of 'the secret'.
Kate Morton never fails to please!!
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