Fifty years later, Laurel, now a successful actress, returns to the family farm in the English countryside along with her siblings to celebrate their mother's ninetieth birthday. Realizing her mother hasn't long to live, Laurel is determined to find out the truth of that fateful day. As her mother drifts in and out of consciousness and from present to past, Laurel gently asks questions to evoke those long-buried memories. Dorothy's answers come in bits and pieces, only arousing Laurel's curiosity even more:
"I made so many mistakes..so many mistakes." Her cheeks were moist with seeping tears. "Love, Laurel, that's the only reason to get married. For love."
But what mistakes had Dorothy made? Laurel is sure her parents had a perfect marriage, and her own childhood was idyllic, surrounded by a loving family. With even more questions unanswered, Laurel begins to follow the few clues she has. Her research leads her to delve into the lives of two other people who seemed to play an important role in Dorothy's past: her former beau Jimmy and good friend Vivien. As Laurel unearths more and more information, she thinks she has come up with the secret from Dorothy's life during the London Blitz, but not even she is prepared for the surprising truth at the end.
|Poppy seed heads--my garden might be called "the forgotten garden" by this time of year:)|
I was first introduced to the writings of Kate Morton when a friend recommended The Forgotten Garden last year. I loved it! In some ways I preferred it to The Secret Keeper, but probably because I enjoyed the different time periods and the storyline of the first book. On the other hand, The Secret Keeper is a more satisfying read. Like The Forgotten Garden, it deals with a family whose hidden secrets have affected them over several generations, but this new novel is easier to follow. In both novels, Morton jumps from one time period to another, but Garden had so many settings that I found myself re-reading earlier parts to remember how the characters and time periods related. In The Secret Keeper she is more successful at keeping the reader in suspense while at the same time not confusing the reader. The ending was a total surprise to me, but I realized that all the details from the past suddenly made sense.
Part mystery, part historical fiction, and part family saga, these two books have me hooked on reading more of Kate Morton's works. The Secret Keeper is sure to be another bestseller for her.
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After a summer hiatus, The Book Review Club is back to regular monthly meetings. And as a reminder, I only review books I like, and I am never compensated in any way for books reviewed here. My copy of The Secret Keeper came from my local library.