Sixteen-year-old Laurel Nicolson has left a family party to escape to her childhood tree house t0 dream about the boy she likes and the future they might have together. The tree house overlooks the long country lane that leads to the family farm, which gives Laurel an excellent view when a stranger comes to visit. Suddenly, Laurel witnesses a shocking crime that will change how she feels about her family, especially her mother Dorothy, forever. Fast-forward fifty years into the future and now Laurel is a famous actress. The family is gathering at Greenacres farm for Dorothy’s ninetieth birthday. Laurel knows that if she is ever to find answers about what happened so long ago, she must get them now. As we learn the true story, we travel from pre-WWII England, through the war, to present day. It is an intriguing story about love, secrets, and unexpected consequences.
Bubby: I wasn’t initially thrilled with this book. I enjoyed the story but was confused about how it all was going to come together. Then boom! The last 50-100 pages are amazing. Riveting. I want to go back and read The Secret Keeper again now that I know what happens.
Sissy: Well, I don’t want to go read it again until maybe 12 months from now when I will have forgotten everything that I read.
Bubby: It won’t take you 12 months to forget everything. 12 days, maybe.
Sissy: I will ignore Bubby’s snarky comments because I won’t remember them 12 days from now anyway. Kate Morton writes so beautifully I could weep. I do not know how old she is but I hope she has 127 more lucid years so she can keep writing lovely books. Some authors have one distinct style. For example, Terry Pratchett is a magnificent satirist, Mary Higgins Clark is riveting in her suspense and Donna Andrews does light fluffy cozy mystery. But for me Kate Morton does it all with such stylish flowing prose that you feel as if you were living the story.
Bubby: I agree that her writing style is divine. When I am reading one of her books I can immerse myself to the point where I begin to believe I am British. I often wonder if I was British in a former life or was born in the wrong country. I wonder if there are Brits out there who dream of being Americans and go around speaking in American accents and having whatever the American equivalent of tea time is. For some reason I doubt it. Anyway, I have forgotten what my point was (gee, I feel like Sissy!) so on to Sissy.
Sissy: Ethnologically speaking, Bubby, you ARE British! So, Happy Christmas! OK. I was telling my 21-year old daughter about this book, The Secret Keeper, and she immediately jumped to the conclusion that it was in the category of “depressed middle-aged women” books (that’s what she calls some of the books I read). You can see that she takes after her Aunt Bubby – rudeness is hereditary. I could give you an example of one of these books but I don’t want to offend any of the depressed middle-aged authors out there. However, in this case, my daughter couldn’t be more wrong. The Secret Keeper has young love, old love and middle love as well as adventure, mystery and intrigue. And it’s appealing to anyone in our targeted demographic, unless they’re like my niece Olivia, who claims to only read on a 5th grade level (Olivia, you would like this book!).
Bubby: “Middle love”? What in the teacup is middle love?
Sissy: Could be romance for Hobbits? Or maybe in the middle of an epic romance? Or perhaps love for depressed 50-year olds? The possibilities are endless.
Bubby: Oh, I see. It’s just something you made up and you have no idea what it means. I’m good with that. I really love books where the characters are well thought out and described – I felt like if I were to pass one of the characters in the street I would know them, just from reading the book. I enjoyed the relationship between Laurel and her sisters and her brother Gerry. She simply adores Gerry – he is the baby of the family and who doesn’t adore the baby? – and loves her sisters even when they exasperate her. Having recently dealt with caring for an elderly parent, I could really relate to how the siblings banded together to care for their mother Dorothy in her last few days. It is often difficult for an author to transition between time periods, in this case primarily the 1940’s and present day, but Kate Morton does it seamlessly.
Sissy: In case you wondered, Bubby IS the baby of our family. And like Gerry, she was horribly spoiled from Day 1 but turned into a reasonably presentable adult.
Bubby: Thanks for that, Sissy, I think.
Sissy: I also love, love, love Morton’s seamless transitions between time periods. I feel like I got three or four stories for the price of one. I give this book 4 1/2 bubbles. I would have given it 5 (it was that good) but I suffered anxiety in the middle of it from wondering how in the heck everything would turn out alright for my beloved characters and I had to have a cup of tea (which tastes like fish spit unless you put in 3 teaspoons of sugar).
Bubby: Not sure what kind of tea you are drinking, Sissy (perhaps you should try a new brand?One not made from fishy bits?) but I also loved The Secret Keeper. 4 bubbles.
©Bubble Bath Books 2012