At 16, Laurel Nicolson witnesses a murder. She watches as a stranger walks up the drive to her family’s farm, Green Acres, and approaches her mother, Dorothy. In moments, Dorothy raises a knife and plunges it into the man’s chest. It’s a secret that Laurel will keep, even as she leaves Green Acres for London to pursue an acting career. Years later, Laurel and her brother and sisters gather once again at Green Acres. Dorothy’s health is declining quickly and the end looks to be near. But Laurel has never forgotten what she saw from the tree house window and she’s determined to uncover the secrets of her mother’s past before it’s too late.
The Secret Keeper floats lyrically between past and present, between pre-World War II England and present-day London. The story waves together a young Dorothy and her handsome photographer boyfriend, Jimmy, with a glamorous socialite, Vivien, and her husband, Henry, a renowned author. Dorothy idolizes Vivien and envies the life she thinks Vivien must lead. The drama that unfolds during World War II is brought to life deftly and vividly by Kate Morton. In a word, her storytelling is mesmerizing. Surely, Laurel is just as captivated by the story she is piecing together about her mother’s mysterious past and the events that led up to the murder she sees at 16.
The Secret Keeper is a beautiful work of historical fiction; emotionally charged and exceedingly moving. I felt heartbroken as I, along with Laurel, peeled away the layers of history to find, at the heart, something – and someone – wholly unexpected.
About the Author
Kate Morton grew up in the mountains of south-east Queensland and lives now with her husband and three young sons in Brisbane. She has degrees in dramatic art and English literature, specialising in nineteenth-century tragedy and contemporary gothic novels. Kate harboured dreams of joining the Royal Shakespeare Company until she became sidetracked writing novels, and still feels a pang of longing each time she goes to the theatre and the house lights dim.
Kate used to hide to read when she was small, and still believes that reading should be so pleasurable it feels almost illicit. Her favourite novels are the sort that you can disappear inside, and the thing she most likes hearing from readers is that they stayed up far too late turning pages.
Kate Morton has sold over 10 million copies in 26 languages, across 38 countries. The House at Riverton, The Forgotten Garden, The Distant Hours and The Secret Keeper have all been number one bestsellers around the world, and Kate’s fifth novel, The Lake House, will be published in October 2015.