Friday, 26 October 2012

Book Review: The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton

Goodreads Summary: 1959 England. Laurel Nicolson is sixteen 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 ninetieth 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.

Title:  The Secret Keeper
Author:  Kate Morton
Publisher:  Allen and Unwin Australia
Release Date:  1st November 2012
Source:  Allen and Unwin via The Reading Room (Thank you for sending me this book, I loved it)

Wow, I don’t even know where to begin. This book is amazing to say the least! It took me a little while to get through the almost 600 pages, but they were needed to unravel the mystery that is Dorothy Nicholson. If this review seems a little vague, it is because I don’t want to give away any spoilers; there are just so many events along the way.

We start in 1961; Laurel is a 16 year old teenager hiding in the childhood tree house to escape from her sisters. Her Mother, Dorothy comes looking for the cake knife with her baby brother Gerry. Laurel is frozen in shock when she witnesses the most horrific crime. Laurel and her mother are the only people that know what truly happened on that day.

Dorothy Nicholson is the best Mother any child could have; she is so creative and full of fun. The children are never without a story. Now in the present and Dorothy is in hospital, she is frail, old and dying. Laurel is visiting with Dorothy and the mystery of the crime is still fresh in her mind. Her Mother is muttering about mistakes and regrets. Laurel cannot forget what happened on that fateful day back in 1961 and decides to find out why it happened and how. Laurel takes it upon herself to investigate her Mother’s past. Her brother decides to help and they both go on the hunt.

Going back to 1941; WW2 is in full swing and Dorothy has left her parents and brother behind to find her destiny in London. Dorothy has a boyfriend, a job and then meets the Lady across the road, Vivien. Vivien is the friend that can help Dorothy go places in society. Horrible things start to happen to Dorothy, sad news and betrayal. Dorothy seeks revenge. This revenge is a plan; things don’t go right and Dorothy has to flee.

What happened to Dorothy’s boyfriend Jimmy? What is the betrayal that makes Dorothy want revenge? What makes Dorothy commit the crime that ruined Laurel’s childhood? Who is Dorothy from 1941? Can Laurel unravel the mystery that is her Mother?

The whole story flows along beautifully, travelling from 1941 to 1961 to 2011 finding all the clues to Dorothy’s past. This is such a beautiful story and the twists along the way are so shocking you are left speechless. The historical part of the book is amazing and in such detail, right down to the clothes and attitudes of the day. Full of action, suspense, romance, fun and the tissues are needed (well for me anyway). This is the first book I’ve read by this author and I am stunned. I will certainly be picking up her others.


You can find Kate Morton's books on Amazon, Kobo, Goodreads, The Reading Room and Kate on Facebook and her website.


  1. I'm glad you loved it so much! I think the whole concept is intriguing and I'm definitely going to check it out :)

    Jesse @ Pretty in Fiction

  2. I LOVED this book. I reviewed it on my blog too.

    Thanks for the great review.

    Stopping by from Carole's Your Favorite Historical Fiction Post. I am in that list as #4.

    Silver's Reviews
    My Blog

  3. I have been wanting to read Kate Morton's books for a while now. I think I will start with The Secret Keeper. It sounds excellent! Thanks for sharing your review.
    Happy Reading,
    Rebecca @ The Key to the Gate