I just finished reading The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton. I had read another of her books (The Forgotten Garden) and enjoyed it very much, and so this one caught my eye. Here’s the review on amazon.com:
During a summer party at the family farm in the English countryside, sixteen-year-old Laurel Nicolson has escaped to her childhood tree house and is happily dreaming of the future. She spies a stranger coming up the long road to the farm and watches as her mother speaks to him. Before the afternoon is over, Laurel will witness a shocking crime. A crime that challenges everything she knows about her family and especially her mother, Dorothy—her vivacious, loving, nearly perfect mother.
Now, fifty years later, Laurel is a successful and well-regarded actress living in London. The family is gathering at Greenacres farm for Dorothy’s ninetieth birthday. Realizing that this may be her last chance, Laurel searches for answers to the questions that still haunt her from that long-ago day, answers that can only be found in Dorothy’s past.
The Secret Keeper explores longings and dreams and the unexpected consequences they sometimes bring. It is an unforgettable story of lovers and friends, deception and passion that is told—in Morton’s signature style—against a backdrop of events that changed the world.
So I figured that the mystery was all about the crime, and of course it was, but there was so much more. So much. I have to admit that there were tedious times when I had to make myself keep at it. And so many confusing parts – which added to the mystery of course! By the way, I figured out one of the mysteries early on – or thought that I did – and so I kept looking for confirmations (and found some seemingly discrepant information that made me doubt my thinking), but in the end I was right and felt so satisfied that the author felt the same way I did about these characters, and thankful that it turned out that way in the end. (Even knowing that her words gave all the clues and made me feel that way in the first place!)
As a reading teacher I extol the virtues of rereading for understanding. I often do this, but only in short snippets, usually of a recent part, or perhaps the last place I read before I finished reading the day before, or sometimes the first chapter that made little sense at the time I read it because I had no knowledge of the characters or any schema to connect it to. I hear friends talk of rereading certain books every so often, but I don’t do that. I always want to read something different- so many books, so little time!
In this book, however, I went back to one chapter throughout the book and I reread it four different times. And now that I am finished, I do think it would be a great book to reread from start to finish. And I never say that! There was just so much there. So much character study, so much history, so many beautiful phrases that deserve to be read and reread, again and again. A true friend is a light in the dark, indeed.
I bought the actual hardcover book and I can’t wait to pass it on to just the right reader friend so that we can talk about it after she reads it. And I have decided that’s one of the drawbacks of Kindle books – you can’t pass them on. Not for free, as a gift, like handing someone a trip to another place or another time. I find some of my favorite reads that way, through the recommendations of friends.
So if you are looking for a good summer read I would recommend this book – and I would love to know the thoughts of other readers, too. And I will be a different kind of secret keeper – you can’t get the mystery out of me, no matter what. You’ll just have to read this great book yourself!