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've been waiting for this book to come out, as Kate Morton is one of my faves. Although I must admit, even though I was waiting for this release, I refused to buy it in print or e-book format because I wanted Caroline Lee to tell me the story. She's one of my faves, too. I wasn't disappointed. I believe this is the best Kate Morton novel to date. I was enthralled every bit of the way through, listening with such fervor with the hopes that each mystery would be revealed. The ending was superb and caught me totally by surprise. I loved it!
The toughest part about this book is that it had to end. This beautiful and haunting story of romance, family secrets, war-time mysteries, genealogy, old trunks and houses and ephemera that tells snippets of a story that had unraveled in secrecy was so satisfying that I had to hop on right away to give my review. I love that this tale is over 19 hours long -- it made me really feel as if I was getting my credit's worth. Yet listening to Lee's easy and engaging reading style didn't make it a burden at all. Easily one of my best purchases of the year (and I purchase a lot). I definitely recommend!
The only caveat I would give to someone new to Kate Morton is to stick with it. The beginning can be a bit slow, and a few parts in between are a little draggy. There was so much cigarette smoking that I almost gave in and bought a pack myself to cave into the subliminal peer pressure (after many years of having quit). But it's worth it. Stay with it, and you won't be disappointed!
Short, Simple, No Spoilers
Alternating between 2011 and 1940, a dying mother, visited by her children, hints at a past regret to her daughter, Laurel. Present day Laurel visits libraries, families and spends her day digging into the past to determine what changed her mother all those years ago. Dorothy's past unfolds with love interest, Jimmy and you walk beside her experiencing the decisions she made for better or worse.
At first, I thought this book would be predictible. I adored, "The Secret Garden," liked "Distant Hours," but didn't care for "House at Riverton." Hesitant to pick up this fourth offering from Morten and happy I did. She introduces complex characters whose desires make them human; neither perfect nor wrong. There are many corners you turn in the story and just when I thought I'd figured out the ending, I was led down a divergent path. Enjoyed the journey and hope you will, too. Excellent choice for women who like a good character driven mystery.
This was my first Kate Morton and I was totally fascinated by the ways she weaves the tale through the eyes of Laurel, her daughter. Many times I do not like the switch from present to past, etc. but this book had perfect timing in this realm. The characters are all well developed and rich in personality traits. Twists and turns and a complex finale. All people are just human in the end. I have recommended this book to all my friends. Caroline Lee also brought the story to life.
Now may I make a recommendation: For those reviewers who basically rewrite the story and give all the minute details (and I am sure you are smart and definitely have a handle on most of the books you review). My problem is I want to listen to the book but not after having heard the plot and character twists. I skip reviews that go on and on. Please just give us a leader that will make me anxious to spend my next credit on that book. I respect your judgments, just dont want to know too much about the book before I listen to it. Thanks.
I first encountered Kate Morton’s books in May of 2011 and have waited anxiously for each new Audible publication. But in my opinion “The Secret Keeper” is her finest so far. Her character development is beautifully done and her ability to have the reader travel back and forth between eras is accomplished smoothly and effortlessly. I found myself totally enmeshed in the lives of Jimmy and Dorothy and Vivian and when the story moved to present day, I became a member of Laurel’s family and “saw” each of her sisters and her brother clearly. As a firm believer in “degrees of separation”, the twists and turns this story took on its journey were totally believable. For 19 wonderful hours I was lost in the lives of others and am so sorry the story has ended.
I need to also say that without Caroline Lee’s narration much would be lost. I have enjoyed her presentation of each of the other Kate Morton books that I have listened too.
If you like history, a mystery, a love story and a well-executed book, do not hesitate to select “The Secret Keeper”. It is a real keeper!
I LOVE to listen to audiobooks - the Audible ap is by far the best thing that's ever happend to my iPhone.
I had NO clue how it would end - AMAZING - I adored it. And I was so thankful!!!!!!
I read lots of reviews - and got the message loud and clear, this was going to be a great book. However, one review caught my attention. It mentioned that the begining of the book will be a tad boring but by the middle you will be hooked - and boy, were they RIGHT!
This book reminds me of a lot of books (Girl with the Dragon Tatoo) where you find yourself drifting in the begining because there aren't details you can grab and start buidling with. But, by the middle of the book - you start to feel a bit more involved with the characters. You finally see where everything is heading - well, sort of. And if you choose to listen again - you'll see the pieces fall together and fit better.
I often read (or listen to) a book and am grateful for the gift of great authors and the stories they share with us. This is certainly a wonderful story.
Say something about yourself!
A true storyteller draws you into the story and you are able to visualize, be in that story. Kate Morton is profound in that capability. I have loved everyone of her books. That is odd for me because I do not care for English accent in my ear. Caroline Lee is the one exception. She is a fantastic narrator. I just so appreciate a story that once you begin you just cannot put it down until you know what happens. An author that keeps you right there in that story with those characters, it's a gift. This story will wrap right around you. It is believeable, and yet woven with fantasy of a lovely imagination. I loved it!
I wasn't over the moon with the last couple of morton books, but this one features a whole new level of prose and exceptionally fine character development, all within the context of a very compelling story.
Tiny moments in extraordinary narrator caroline lee's pitch perfect characterization of these very different sisters took my breath away
Wow wow wow. Masterful narrator, will now give a close look to any book she reads...
Just enough time in each era, but above all, the nuanced performance by the narrator makes this a worthwhile listen
I enjoyed the story and in particular the narrator, Caroline Lee however I have listened to two other Kate Morton books and found this one to be very similar, so much so I could predict a lot of the story. If you are a big Kate Morton fan then you will probably love it. For me however the formula of a big secret a long time ago that a current day child has to investigate and unravel is a little warn.
Yes - knowing how it turns out I found pay more attention to the foretelling elements.
Vivianne, her character is shrouded by the ways others perceive her.
My Mother's Daughter.
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.
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