Ever since I’ve read Kate Morton’s The Forgotten Garden I fell in love with family sagas and mysteries with dual time narratives and she has become one of my favourite writers in this genre. Having read all her books and loving almost all of them, The Secret Keeper might be one of my favourites by Kate.
The novel tells the story of main character, Laurel, a successful actress who is haunted by a crime she witnessed when she was only sixteen years old. She witnessed her mother, Dolly, kill a man and now over fifty years later she wants answers to her questions. Her mother however suffers from dementia and isn’t of much help. Dorothy, along with her baby brother, who was present at the crime scene, is investigating further into their family history, looking for answers.
During this investigation, the story starts spanning over the decades, from the 1940s of WWII, the 1960s and current day. Kate takes us back to the day of the crime, to who Dolly was during WWII – working as a caregiver to an old woman, her plight for a better life, her friendship with a woman named Vivien and falling in love with ex-lover, Jimmy.
The writing is lyrical and made the story a joy to read. It is also a fast pacing novel with strong characters and a great storyline that will make you want to keep turning the pages until you reach the (breathtaking) end. The end which is the best part of the novel is another “everything isn’t always what it seems” conclusion. I can’t say more about the story line and the ending without giving away too many spoilers, but The Secret Keeper is worth a read and it’s one of her best. I don’t remember much about The Forgotten Garden other than it’s is my favourite KM novel, but now I’m not so sure…
“Life could be cruel enough these days without the truth making it worse”
“There was something about a book that inspired dedication and a swelling desire to possess it”
“When reason sleeps, the monsters of repression will emerge”
“There were moments in which a person reached a crossroads, when something happened, out of the blue, to change the course of life’s events”