We’re almost halfway through the summer now, and I’m pleased to report I’m almost halfway through my reading project. My book shelf is stoked with some new titles. I’m excited.
I just knocked over The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton. She’s an Australian author who made quite a literary splash after publishing her début novel, The Shifting Fog (also known as The House at Riveton) in 2007. The Secret Keeper is her fourth book. It opens in 1961, the year sixteen year old Laurel Nicolson saw her mother murder a stranger from the window of a tree-house on their family farm. In 2011, with her mother’s health steadily fading, Laurel must delve into her family’s secrets in order to make sense of the what she saw as a girl. The novel is primarily split between Laurel’s investigation in the present and her mother’s life in London during the Second World War.
For me, the best thing about Kate Morton is that she writes precisely the kind of story that I love to read. Her books are all dreamy, Gothic mysteries that feed my love for early 20th century history, family secrets and romance. They’re all fairly substantial (about 500-600 pages) but clever plot twists and switching between the past and the present make Morton’s novels so easy to read. I’m talking about the kind of book that has you reading furiously at 3 in the morning and fills you with sadness when you do reach the final page. Because hey, now it’s all over. And also, you need to be up for work in four hours.
Her novels are undoubtedly aimed at women – they revolve around female characters. They are also love stories (not to say that men can’t read romance) and be warned, you’ll need to keep the tissues handy. I usually fall a little in love with the male interests but not because the author spends entire chapters describing the perfection of their physical appearance and detailing erotic sweet nothings whispered in the protagonist’s ear. These are refreshing romances – not soppy and two dimensional, but beautiful and sad. Morton makes you fall in love with her characters. You get so attached, so invested in their lives that you have to stick with them until the end.
So I would definitely recommend The Secret Keeper. It’s rare to find an author who gives you effortless enjoyment and for me, Kate Morton certainly does.