It may come as a bit of a surprise to some regular readers of my blog that I am a fan of Kate Morton’s books. I don’t think I would have picked up one of her books in a million years except that she spoke at a Leading Edge Conference in Coffs Harbour a few months after The Shifting Fog was first published. Her talk convinced me to see past my preconceived judgement of the cover and read a really good historical mystery. Kate Morton has since written two more novels, The Forgotten Garden, which I also loved, and The Distant Hours, which I struggled to get into but my wife enjoyed so I will have to revisit that one at some point.
One of the reasons I struggled to get into The Distant Hours was it felt like it was treading over the same territory again, which I’m assured it doesn’t, so I may have been a bit impatient with the setup of that novel. But I had no such trouble with The Secret Keeper. Kate Morton plunges you straight into the story.
The book opens in 1961 and 16 year old Laurel witnesses her mother kill a man. 50 years later, with her mother on her death bed, Laurel is determined to find out who the man was and what led up to the events on that fateful day. As she does so well Kate Morton weaves together various narratives and characters from modern day England to Second World War London and back again showing us the pieces, stories and lives that arranged one way tell the story of Laurel’s family she thought she has always known but when put together again, with the missing pieces she discovers, tell quite a different story.
I was totally lost in this story and think this is Kate Morton’s best since The Shifting Fog. Don’t misjudge Kate Morton’s books like I did, there is a really strong reason why she is Australia’s biggest selling author overseas (7 million copies worldwide) and that is she is a great storyteller, plain and simple.
Classification: Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)
Format: Paperback (198mm x 129mm x mm)
Imprint: Allen & Unwin
Publisher: Allen & Unwin
Publish Date: 1-Nov-2013
Country of Publication: Australia