Several weeks ago I was ordering everyone books from Amazon for Christmas and I saw this title under recommendations. It looked so intriguing that I bought it for myself for Christmas! “The Secret Keeper” starts with British teenager Laurel hiding from her younger sisters in her treehouse, when a stranger comes to their home and she witnesses her mother stab the man to death. The police rule that the homicide was self-defense, and the man is thought to be a local criminal, and so Laurel moves on and seems to forget that day.
Fifty years later, Laurel’s mother, Dorothy, is turning eighty, and close to death. She begins to tell Laurel that she has some regrets and that all is not as it seems. However, Dorothy is losing her faculties as well, and Laurel can’t get the whole story from her, so she seeks to solve the mystery herself. Just who was the man her mother killed that day, and why did he seem to know her mother? Added to these questions are some items Laurel finds hidden away: a book with an inscription, a thank you note, a picture of her mother and her friend Vivien, a small doll and an old fur coat. Will she figure out the past before Dorothy passes on?
This story is told in various voices: Laurel as a teen, Laurel in the present, Dorothy as a young girl, Dorothy as a young adult, Vivien as a child, Vivien as a young adult, etc. We move from the present to the fifties in England, to London during the Blitz, to Australia pre-WWII. I loved this style and the way the story unfolded slowly and step by step. I did not guess the ending, but once it was revealed I saw that all the clues were right before me the whole time. I really enjoyed Morton’s writing style and will look for other books by her.
Recommended for those lovers of historical fiction – WWII era – with a dash of mystery and romance thrown in. Definitely one of my fave reads of the year!