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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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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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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