Another month has passed and that means it’s time to discuss another PBF book club book!
In January we read The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton.
The Secret Keeper begins with drama. From the safety and seclusion of the family tree house, 16-year-old Laurel witnesses her mother commit a horrific crime that is completely uncharacteristic of the woman that raised Laurel with love and tenderness.
The book picks up years later when Laurel is an adult and her mother, Dorothy, is in the hospital, with limited days left to live. Laurel begins to wonder about the crime she witnessed so many years ago and begins to do some detective work of her own to get to the bottom of the secret that has stayed with her for so many years.
The Secret Keeper flashes back and forth between present-day and Dorothy’s past in pre–WWII England. As a young woman, Dorothy’s life is intertwined with the lives of Jimmy and Vivien, two people whose stories help slowly reveal the motive behind the heinous crime Dorothy committed years later.
My Review (With Spoilers)
You would think that a book that begins with a murder would rope me in immediately, but it took me a while to feel fully invested in The Secret Keeper. Kate Morton takes time to develop her characters by providing a lot of backstory and she is clearly a fan of descriptive imagery. While this allowed me to fully understand the characters and paint a fabulous picture in my mind of London in the 1940s, it also made the book truck along a little slowly at first.
After the murder in the beginning of the book, I kept waiting for something else to happen. Fortunately, once I started to feel roped in, I was fully invested. The book is long, but once I made it through the first quarter of the book, it really picked up. I absolutely flew through the final third of the novel.
Though I liked Laurel and was anxious to see what clues she might uncover during her detective work, I found myself much more interested in the flashback stories surrounding Dorothy, Jimmy and Vivien.
At first I loved young Dorothy. I thought she was vivacious, imaginative, passionate and a bit naïve, but extremely endearing. As Vivien’s character developed and Dorothy became more and more enamored with Vivien and her wealthy lifestyle, my feelings toward Dorothy shifted rather dramatically. I found her whiney and wanted to tell her to snap out of it and recognize the amazing love Jimmy had for her and appreciate and embrace it.
While the book was slow at first, I began to come around to Kate Morton’s descriptive language and “slow reveal” style of writing as I read. The backstory that felt menial in the beginning of the book proved important as the story went on. I loved wondering whether or not Vivien was truly a good person and enjoyed the element of mystery that surrounded her story. (I always rooted for Jimmy’s happiness. I loved him.)
Once Vivien’s true character was revealed, the book really got moving and I couldn’t put it down. I sat up in bed, flipping through the pages until the twist of all twists occurred at the very end. I definitely didn’t see the final twist coming and loved that Kate Morton weaved such an intricate and detailed story without revealing something so monumental until the very end.
If you can get through a slow-moving start, I would highly recommend The Secret Keeper. I love it when a book catches me off guard and surprises the heck out of me at the end. The Secret Keeper definitely delivered.
Blogger Link Up
You can find additional reviews of The Secret Keeper on the following blogs:
- Artistically Shauna
- Confessions from a Rambling Mind
- Run, Eat, Play
- Peace Love and Oats
- Biting Life
- My Neon Running Shoes
- Healthy Epiphany
- Hungry Healthy Girl
- Chelsea Eats Treats
- What did you think about Dorothy in the beginning of the book? How did you feel about her as the book progressed? Did your feelings change?
- What did you think of the big twist at the end of the book? Did you see it coming?
- Did you prefer following Laurel’s story or the stories surrounding Dorothy, Jimmy and Vivien?