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The Secret Keeper: A Novel Hardcover – October 16, 2012

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

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. --Julie Trevelyan

About the Author

Kate Morton, a native Australian, holds degrees in dramatic art and English literature. She lives with her family in Brisbane, Australia.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 496 pages
  • Publisher: Atria Books; First Edition edition (October 16, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9781439152805
  • ISBN-13: 978-1439152805
  • ASIN: 1439152802
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.4 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2,708 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #77,985 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Kate Morton grew up in the mountains of south-east Queensland and lives now with her husband and young sons in Brisbane. She has degrees in dramatic art and English literature, specializing in nineteenth-century tragedy and contemporary gothic novels.

Kate Morton has sold over 7.5 million copies in 26 languages, across 38 countries. The House at Riverton, The Forgotten Garden, and The Distant Hours have all been number one bestsellers around the world, and The Secret Keeper, Kate Morton's fourth novel, has just been published.

You can find more information about Kate Morton and her books at or

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

257 of 275 people found the following review helpful By Luanne Ollivier TOP 1000 REVIEWER on October 16, 2012
Format: Hardcover
It was raining, cold and damp the day I started to read Kate Morton's latest book - The Secret Keeper. And the perfect day to snuggle in to my favourite chair and lose myself in Morton's absolutely wonderful storytelling.

The prologue of The Secret Keeper is a show stopper it will hook you and the tale will keep you enthralled until you turn the last page. Early 1960's England. Sixteen year old Laurel lives an idyllic life with her beloved mother, father, her three sisters and brother in an isolated house in the countryside - until the day a stranger surprises their mother outside their home. Laurel, hidden in a treehouse, witnesses this meeting - and it's shocking outcome. And although life carries on afterwards, there's an unmistakable rift in the fabric of their lives.

"There were moments, Laurel solemnly believed, in which a person reached a crossroads; when something happened, out of the blue to change the course of life's events."

Fast forward to 2011. The siblings are called back to Greenacres Farm; their mother Dorothy is approaching her 90th birthday and her health is not good. Laurel sees these final days as her last opportunity to get answers from her mother as to what happened that day over fifty years ago.

"Not about Ma. I mean that young woman. She was a different person back then, with a whole other life we know nothing about. Do you ever wonder about her, about what she wanted, how she felt about things - Laurel sneaked a glance at her sister - the sorts of secrets she kept?

Morton again effectively uses her technique of past and present narratives to tell Dorothy's story. We meet her in 1941 as 'Dolly', a vivacious seventeen year old girl with dreams and ambitions.
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35 of 38 people found the following review helpful By Denice J. Lipscomb on October 22, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
If I could give this book 10 stars, I would. I have anticipated the release of Kate Morton's latest book for what seems like forever. I was not disappointed. Until now, The Forgotten Garden was my favorite-but no longer. I won't give a synopsis since others already have. I'll just say that I loved every minute I spent reading this novel and haven't stopped thinking about the characters all day. I don't usually read a book a second time, but I feel certain I will do it this time. My only regret is that I finished it too fast-but I read late into the night because I just couldn't stop. I had read in another review that there was a surprise ending and thought I'd figured it out-but I was wrong and didn't see it coming! Kate Morton is in a class all by herself.
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76 of 88 people found the following review helpful By "switterbug" Betsey Van Horn TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on October 16, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Set alternately between the present and the past, much of this mystery novel takes place in London during the Blitz, when the Luftwaffe bombed the UK for fifty-seven consecutive nights, killing over 40,000 civilians. Laurel Nicholson, a successful actress in her sixties, reflects back to her teen years in the 1960's and a crime she witnessed her mother, Dorothy (now ninety and dying), commit outside their Greenacres farmhouse.

The Blitz years' sections belong to Dorothy, which Laurel pieces together from scraps of memorabilia that her mother possesses. It opens up to the reader as Dorothy's story, primarily. As Laurel and her siblings gather for Dorothy's last days, the reader follows the trail of clues revealed through memories, inquiry, and Laurel's amateur sleuthing. As the pages turn, we get more involved and intrigued by the intertwined lives of Dorothy, a woman from Dorothy's past named Vivien (and Vivien's husband, Henry Jenkins), and Dorothy's former beau, Jimmy.

The most engaging aspect of this book is the smooth narrative and the intimate voices of the past and present. Morton creates characters that stand out, especially those from the WW II period. Dorothy is a complex woman trying to carve a future from the fear and impermanence that wartime creates. You can fairly hear the explosions in the background. Vivien is an enigmatic woman who never ceases to pique the reader's interest, and her husband, Henry, the celebrated author, adds to the curiosity. Jimmy, the photographer and Dorothy's love interest, is the moral center.

What kind of relationship did Dorothy and Vivien have? Were they friends, or adversaries, or mere acquaintances? There's a photo of them standing together, emanating defiance and daring.
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68 of 82 people found the following review helpful By N. Blackburn on October 16, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Read my full review @ [...]

My opinion: I love me some Kate Morton and have read each and every one of her books. Hands down, I consider her to be one of the most original authors I have read. She has continued this tradition of high quality writing in The Secret Keeper. Morton has a history of incredibly strong yet approachable character development. Yet, she has the capabilities to write with engrossing storylines full of twists that leave the readers with a "WTH just happened?" moments.

I was sucked into this book immediately and ended up reading a 450+ page book in several hours. I absolutely couldn't put it down and consider this to be Morton's best book to date.

On a side note, I received this book from Atria Books as an ebook for review. In the future, I will wait for Morton's books to come out in print as I consider them to be special treats. I didn't like the formatting of the ebook and feel that it did distract somewhat from the story. So, make the investment and grab the book in print. It is well worth the extra couple of bucks!
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