Reviews for Secret Keeper


Booklist Reviews 2012 October #2
Australian Morton's (The Distant Hours, 2010) latest will appeal to fans of Daphne du Maurier, Susanna Kearsley, and Audrey Niffenegger with its immensely relatable characters, passion, mystery, and twist ending. Laurel Nicholson is a teenager when she witnesses a shocking crime: her gentle, kind mother, Dorothy, kills a man. It becomes a family secret that Laurel never divulges or tries to fathom until five decades later, when Dorothy is on her deathbed, and Laurel finds a photograph of her mother with an old friend, snapped back in 1941, when Dorothy was barely out of her teens. As Laurel begins to dig, her burning questions become, Who was Vivien Jenkins, and why was she once so important to Dorothy? With the narrative shifting between Laurel, Dorothy, Vivien, and Jimmy, a man who also profoundly affected Dorothy's life long ago, both reader and Laurel breathlessly hurtle into an astounding family secret that unfolds slowly and temptingly. Despite some loose threads and rather too leisurely pacing, this is likely to keep readers reading into the wee hours. Copyright 2012 Booklist Reviews.

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BookPage Reviews 2012 November
A life transformed by murder

At only 16 years old, Laurel Nicolson sees a person she has known as loving and gentle commit murder in cold blood. The authorities claim the murder was an act of self-defense, but Laurel knows better. She will spend the next 50 years of her life keeping the secret and wondering why it happened in the first place. But the need to know the truth becomes urgent: Soon after the book opens, we learn that the murderer is now dying after a very long and mostly happy life.

The Secret Keeper alternates between the present day, where Laurel, now an Academy Award-winning actress, is trying to beat the clock, and the time of the London Blitz, those days in 1940 and 1941 when London and other British cities were under continuous nighttime bombing by Hitler’s Luftwaffe. In the midst of this horror we’re introduced to two young women—Dorothy and Vivien—and their men. Dorothy, then called Dolly, is a dreamy girl whose family was wiped out in the notorious Coventry bombing. She is engaged to Jimmy Metcalfe, a war photographer. Vivien, whose own family tragedy happened years before, is an Australian émigré married to a wealthy, much older, monstrously cruel writer. Their losses have driven both girls a little mad. Dolly has delusions that the cranky old dowager she works for will leave her a fortune, though we understand that the dowager only thinks of her as a servant. Vivien, who blames herself for the loss of her family, believes she deserves the punishment her husband, and the world, metes out. Though the women barely know each other, Dolly’s delusions quickly come to envelop Vivien as well.

Best-selling author Kate Morton takes her time unraveling this story, which begins with one secret, then leads to another the reader really wasn’t expecting. In addition to the plot’s clever twists and turns, the characterizations are also pleasing. There’s not only the tragic Dolly and Vivien, but the dogged and somewhat queenly Laurel, her sisters and their absent-minded professor of a younger brother. A long book that passes quickly, The Secret Keeper is a study of war and other tragedies, what they can do to peop[Fri Aug 22 15:41:48 2014] enhancedContent.pl: Wide character in print at E:\websites\aquabrowser\IMCPL\app\site\enhancedContent.pl line 249. le, and how their repercussions can carry on for decades.

Copyright 2012 BookPage Reviews.

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Kirkus Reviews 2012 September #2
A daughter refuses to let her mother take a grim secret to the grave. In 1961, Laurel, a teenager sulking in a treehouse, sees her mother kill a man with a knife intended for her infant brother's birthday cake. During the ensuing investigation, the police question Laurel, who leaves out a crucial detail. Just before her mother stabbed him, the man had said, "Hello, Dorothy. It's been a long time." Dorothy is cleared—the man is presumed to be a wanted pervert whom she killed in self-defense, and the Nicholson family life goes on as before, with Dorothy, husband Stephen and their five children enjoying life in their bucolic farmhouse. An early flashback reveals that Dorothy may have had a shady past, which induced her to flee London in 1941, at the urging of her friend Vivien, who was subsequently killed in the Blitz. In 2011, Dorothy is close to death. Laurel, now a famous actress in her 60s, embarks on a quest to learn the truth about the homicide. First, she learns that her mother's victim, Henry Jenkins, had once been a prominent writer who fell from grace. Flashbacks from Dorothy's POV and Laurel's research reveal that during the war, Dorothy, whose family was killed by German bombs, attempts to befriend her fellow war-work volunteer, the somewhat aloof Vivien, an heiress who was also orphaned when a car crash claimed her parents and siblings in Australia. But Vivien is married to the controlling, jealousy-prone Jenkins, an author who's also involved in intelligence work for the government. When Vivien inexplicably insults her, Dorothy assumes that slander from Vivien also caused Lady Gwendolyn, Dorothy's late employer, to deny her a hoped-for inheritance. Together with her fiance, the talented and sensitive photographer Jimmy, Dorothy plots revenge in the form of blackmail, threatening to give Jenkins evidence of Vivien's infidelity. Despite some improbable developments, the suspense mounts throughout, culminating in a shocking twist. Morton's finesse with family secrets increases with each novel. Copyright Kirkus 2012 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

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Library Journal Reviews 2012 May #2

Classic Morton: 16-year-old Laurel Nicolson sits dreaming away in her childhood tree house when she spies her mother speaking to an unknown man. Later, Laurel witnesses a terrible crime. But it's not until 50 years have passed that she can ask her mother the pertinent questions--which leads to a story involving three strangers in wartime London. Morton's best-selling work is always classy and nuanced; great for reading groups.

[Page 56]. (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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Library Journal Express Reviews
In 1959 rural England, 16-year-old Laurel Nicholson sees a stranger walking up to her house. The stranger encounters Laurel's mother, Dorothy, and dies after Dorothy stabs him. Although in shock that her warm, imaginative, loving parent is capable of such violence, Laurel keeps the family secret. Many years later, as Laurel and her siblings gather to be with their mother in her final days, a photograph of Dorothy and another young woman in the early days of World War II triggers Laurel's curiosity about her mother's youth in London during the Blitz, and Laurel gradually uncovers her mother's secret. Flashbacks of Dorothy's life reveal the high emotions and rash actions that severely impacted her and the lives of those around her. Verdict Best-selling Australian author Morton (The Distant Hours) has written an absorbing tale of friendship, desire, and jealousy set against the turbulent backdrop of a country at war. Cleverly revealing more of each character's strengths and flaws as the layers of the secret are exposed, Morton's riveting novel startles the reader with an unexpected ending. Sure to be in demand by Morton's many fans. [See Prepub Alert, 5/15/12.]--Joy Gunn, Henderson Libs., NV (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted

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Publishers Weekly Reviews 2012 November #2

In her enjoyable latest novel, Morton returns with her signature brand of storytelling, following The Distant Hours. When 16-year-old, Laurel Nicholson witnesses her mother commit a shocking crime after a man Laurel doesn't know comes to the house. Over time, Laurel alters the memory. Years later, Laurel, now a famous actress, returns to her childhood home as her mother, Dorothy, lies dying. When a photograph of their mother as a young woman with an air unfamiliar to her daughtersâ??is uncovered, Laurel is put on a path to uncover her mother's secrets. In WWII Dorothy and her lover, Jimmy Metcalfe, devised a plan to punish Vivien Jenkins, a woman Dorothy imagined had slighted her. Vivien too had secrets that had life-altering consequences for the three. Though Morton does follow the same basic framework of her previous novels, she is still masterful at controlling a story's flow and tension. Readers will not suspect the twist at the end. Agent: Selwa Anthony, Selwa Anthony Author Management Agency, Australia. (Oct.)

[Page ]. Copyright 2012 PWxyz LLC

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Publishers Weekly Annex Reviews

In her enjoyable latest novel, Morton returns with her signature brand of storytelling, following The Distant Hours. When 16-year-old, Laurel Nicholson witnesses her mother commit a shocking crime after a man Laurel doesn't know comes to the house. Over time, Laurel alters the memory. Years later, Laurel, now a famous actress, returns to her childhood home as her mother, Dorothy, lies dying. When a photograph of their mother as a young woman with an air unfamiliar to her daughtersâ??is uncovered, Laurel is put on a path to uncover her mother's secrets. In WWII Dorothy and her lover, Jimmy Metcalfe, devised a plan to punish Vivien Jenkins, a woman Dorothy imagined had slighted her. Vivien too had secrets that had life-altering consequences for the three. Though Morton does follow the same basic framework of her previous novels, she is still masterful at controlling a story's flow and tension. Readers will not suspect the twist at the end. Agent: Selwa Anthony, Selwa Anthony Author Management Agency, Australia. (Oct.)

[Page ]. Copyright 2012 PWxyz LLC

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