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The Secret Keeper

4.11 of 5 stars 4.11  ·  rating details  ·  63,784 ratings  ·  8,788 reviews
During a summer party at the family farm in the English countryside, sixteen-year-old Laurel Nicolson has escaped to her childhood tree house and is happily dreaming of the future. She spies a stranger coming up the long road to the farm and watches as her mother speaks to him. Before the afternoon is over, Laurel will witness a shocking crime. A crime that challenges ever ...more
Hardcover, 484 pages
Published October 9th 2012 by Atria (first published 2010)
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Linda Palumbo Oh, I didn't think it had offensive language at all! What a great story. One of my all-time faves!
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Claire Caterer
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Community Reviews

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Jeanette  "Astute Crabbist"
No spoilers. I promise. Which means I won't go into much plot detail.

In 1961, when Laurel Nicolson was sixteen, she witnessed a shocking event. She and her mother were the only ones who knew the truth, and they never spoke of it. Fast-forward to 2011. Laurel is a famous actress in her sixties, and her mother Dorothy is dying. Before her mother dies, Laurel wants to uncover the roots of that long-ago shocking event. Her investigation takes her back to the London of 1941, when her mother was youn
I had this mystery figured out at least five different times throughout the book. Because I'm smart like that. But then new information came to light so I had to change my mind. I did get one major part right but I completely missed the big shocker. Wow.

Typical Kate Morton style, there are double meanings in the sentence structure. Additionally, Morton is gifted in her transitions. Different time periods and different points of view left me hanging at the end of each chapter but only a short wh
Jessie  (Ageless Pages Reviews)
Read This Review & More Like It On My Blog!

I love this book wholeheartedly. Kate Morton rocketed to my absolute favorite author list last year on the strength of The Distant Hours and The Forgotten Garden, but this latest novel absolutely cements and guarantees her continued place there. The Secret Keeper blew my mind. Honestly, it might even rival The Distant Hours for my all-time favorite Kate Morton and mystery novel. It's just that good great; it's more of what Kate Morton does so very v
Yianna Yiannacou
I can't wait for this book! My favourite book by Kate is The Forgotten Garden. If you haven't read it, stop reading this and go.. Now!
My actual rating is 3.5 stars

The opening of the story starts with a bang set in the early 1960’s as 16 year old Laurel Nicolson witnesses a shocking crime. Everything she knows about her mother and her family is turned upside down. In Morton style, the story flashes forward to 2011 and Laurel is now in her 60’s revisiting her family farm where she grew up. Her mother is celebrating her 90th birthday and Laurel is searching for answers to family secrets from so lon
The prose was exceptional, sublime.
The plot - a huge surprise.
The characters - endearing.
The ending - prima.
The mystery - thrilling!

As historical fiction - as atmospheric as it can get, with an ambiance of mystery and a light thriller touch. Spellbinding.

Five stars indeed, although some dragging took place, the narrative jumped around, resulting in some confusion, and the ending just would not come. But when it did, it was mind-blowing.

What an intriguing journey it was for the reade
When I saw Kate Morton’s forthcoming novel listed on NetGalley, my heart skipped a beat, and I audibly gasped . . . I was that excited. The Secret Keeper is a definite winner; for the three days it took me to read it, my kids may have noticed a faraway look in Mommy’s eyes as I was engulfed by the characters’ world. I didn’t properly inhabit my own world until I reached the immensely satisfying conclusion.

The book opens in 1960s England with the Nicolson family celebrating their youngest child’s
Jane C.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Tadiana ♕Part-Time Dictator♕
It seems to me that those who've read more than one Kate Morton book either love her writing or find it formulaic. Since this is the first of Morton's books I've read, her formula--if there is one--was new to me. I enjoyed this book.

Laurel has never gotten over seeing her mother stab and kill a man (with their birthday cake knife! Tied with a red bow! I will never look at birthday cake knives the same way again) when Laurel was 16 years old. Her mother never really explained the killing to Laur
The Secret Keeper is a beautifully written historical fiction novel. It has a gripping and original plot with just enough twists and turns to keep the reader interested. The novel was also very well-researched. I thought the various time shifts in the novel were handed quite well and I found the story very easy to follow.

Kate Morton has a tendency to go into too much detail at times. The novel is 600 pages long but the story could have been written in under 400 pages. There were a lot of unnece
I will not hold back on my 5 stars for this book. I had won the uncorrected proof of the book in a giveaway held by Tien at {} and I can't thank Tien enough for having this giveaway (and the lovely bookmark that came with it!).

The first chapter brings you back to the life of 16-year old Laurel who had witnessed her mother from a faraway treehouse, seemingly stabbing a strange man in the premises of their very own home. Laurel was then coaxed by both her parents in
It’s the 1960’s in an English countryside of Greenacres Farm, where the Nicolson family are celebrating a birthday with a picnic. 16year old Laurel is hiding out in a tree house to escape her younger siblings, daydreaming of boys and plans for her glamorous future as an actor. While Laurel was in the tree house unnoticed, she witnessed her mother commit a shockingly violent crime towards a stranger. The truth of her mother’s actions was never openly discussed but Laurel does have strong feelings ...more
Kate Morton is an Australian writer of meaty gothic mysteries, usually based on the uncovering of family secrets over several generations. Her novels are meticulously plotted and wonderfully imagined, with English settings that often feature a mysterious garden or old house. Within just a few years, Morton has become an internationally bestselling writer, much loved by her devoted readers.

Her new novel, The Secret Keeper, begins in the 1960s with teenage Laurel, hiding in a tree house, witnessin
The Secret Keeper was kindly provided to me by Netgalley for Simon & Schuster/Atria Books.
Expected publication: October 9th 2012 by Atria

'It was the liquid silver flash Laurel would always remember. The way sunlight caught the metal blade, and the moment was briefly beautiful.'

In 1959, when Laurel was sixteen years old she watched as a stranger walked up her driveway, said hello to her mother, before her mother stabbed him to death. But the man wasn’t a stranger at all because before he died
Let me say first of all that this is only my second book by Kate Morton. "The Forgotten Garden" was my favorite book. I have changed my favorite book to "The Secret Keeper." It's one of those books that you want to read in small increments, but can't because you don't want to let go of it. Can you tell I loved this book? The plot never let me down - it just got more complicated (in a good way) by the minute. The characters were so real to me that I was happy to be an observer of their emotions a ...more
This family drama / mystery is absorbing and addictive.
Laurel witnesses a crime involving her mother when she is 16 - fast forward in time and Laurel is a successful actress whose mother is dying. Laurel remembers what happened in the past and feels it's time to unravel the mystery of her mother's past.
The story is told by Laurel in present day and her mother Dorothy and Dorothy's friend Vivian through WWII and beyond.
Beautifully constructed to reach a satisfying conclusion, this book is a very
Great ending.

At 498 pages, this is quite a read; not one that can be picked up and put down, as it would be easy to lose the thread. I was hovering around 4 stars until I got to the final chapters and the clever twist, which made it all worth while.

There are a lot of back stories entwined throughout this book, but the main time frames are 2011, 1961 and 1941.
In current time, Laurel, now a famous actress, returns to her childhood house to visit her ailing mother in hospital. Her memories are spar
I so looked forward to this book - Ms. Morton has been one of my favorite authors. Alas, this was a bit of a disappointment. Even though it is difficult for me to be succinct, I shall try.

1. This was hard for me to "get into". It seemed to take forever for things to develop, making me understand those reviewers who gave up early on.

2. Even though the bulk of the plot took place in the early 1940's, the set up was for Laurel and her siblings to figure out the mystery from 2011. But....their chara
Elizabeth of Silver's Reviews
To be sixteen, to witness a murder, and to keep it a secret your entire life? When would Laurel find out the "real" reason for the murder. After fifty years, she needed to ask, but could she really find the answer? She had to. Time was running out.

Set in England and moving from the 1930's to 2011, you will follow Laurel as she continues to keep this secret and attempts to find out why her mother stabbed a visitor on her brother's birthday. Did the baby see or remember anything? Could that be pos
switterbug (Betsey)
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 toge
I have to start by saying that I am left flabbergasted by the ending. As much as I like to think that I usually know what happens by the end of the book, or have a bunch of possible scenarios in my head, what actually happened took me by complete surprise. (Which for a reader, is the best feeling in the world).

The Secret Keeper starts out with Laurel, a 16 year old, witnessing something that stays with her throughout her life (initially I was thinking, is this going to be along the lines of Ato
Kate Forsyth
Kate Morton is one of my favourite authors and her books are an absolute pleasure to read. I also love books set during WWII and so this was a winner from the start. The pace is rather slow in this one, but she evokes time and place so vividly, I can forgive her this. I saw the twist coming - I'm amazed at myself - but then I'm a twisty girl. Loved it!
Why did it matter anyway? It was over. So long as Laurel didn’t pick too closely at its delicate threads, the tapestry hung together. The picture remained intact. At least it had done until now. Incredible, really, that after fifty years all it took was the return of an old photograph and the utterance of a woman’s name for the fabric of Laurel’s fiction to being unravelling.

Fifty years ago, Laurel watched her mother kill a man. It was deemed to be self-defense, but Laurel knew, even at the ag
Wow! What a brilliant and startling ending to a beautiful book. Kate Morton's characterization is definitely one of her many gifts as a writer. Dorothy was such an interesting person - even though she was truly horrid at times you still felt empathy for her. None of the characters were perfect, they all had some failings. I loved the combination of mystery with historical fiction, and will be reading more of this genre. I think I'll probably start with The Forgotten Garden, also by Kate.

The sto
Kate Morton never fails to amaze me with her final twists. In majority of my reading I can anticipate by mid-book or at least at the three quarter mark what the major twist in a suspense will be. I like to to follow the bread crumbs that the writer buries in the plot along the way, distinguishing between red herrings and the true path. A mystery book is a puzzle to solve and I enjoy putting the pieces together as much as the actual reading of the story. And, I must admit, I like to be right. To ...more
Oh my goodness, where do I begin? I LOVED this book! Now, to be fair, one of my favorite novels is The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton so chances were good that I would like her newest novel. I was so certain that this would be true, though. I’ve heard from a few people that loved The Forgotten Garden nearly as much as I did that they just did not like her first novel, House at Riverton. So, when I saw that The Secret Keeper was offered as an advanced reader copy to reviewers, I accepted it with ...more
This was my first Kate Morton book to read, it most certainly won't be my last. I absolutely loved The Secret Keeper, a blend of my two favourite genres, historical fiction and mystery. The story alternates between the present, World War II and other various time periods and Morton does a fantastic job of combining and linking the different time periods together. The storyline in this book was just brilliant incorporating mystery, murder, love, deception, family loyalty and lots and lots of secr ...more
Jo Barton
When Laurel Nicholson is sixteen she witnesses a shocking event during a family birthday party which disturbs not just her comfortable existence, but also her belief in what is right and proper in her world. Fifty years later, Laurel returns to her childhood home to be with her dying mother, and the appearance of a long forgotten photograph unleashes memories of a hidden family secret.
What then follows is a cleverly narrated dual time story which explores the ravages of war time London and combi
The Secret Keeper is my favorite of Kate Morton's so far. There is much here that is familiar from her other work - family secrets, switching time between generations to reveal those secrets gradually, and unexpected twists.

What is different about this novel is that it is more nostalgic than gothic in tone, which gives it a completely fresh feeling even though it also still feels like Kate Morton in style. The feeling of hope and anticipation of each character in their youth is both tangible and
A beautifully written story that weaves past and present together creating a great, impossible to put down tale of deception, passion, love, jealousy and secrets.
Kate Morton created complex, interesting characters who come alive on the pages. I felt like each of them was truly individual and with a story of their own. It made the book that much more captivating.
The only reason I did not score that book full five stars is that I guessed the big secret very early on in the story. It did not spoil
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Jimmy and Vivien--end spoilers 10 493 Jul 26, 2014 05:00PM  
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Kate Morton grew up in the mountains of southeast Queensland, Australia. She has degrees in Dramatic Art and English Literature and is currently a doctoral candidate at the University of Queensland. Kate lives with her husband and two young sons in Brisbane.
Kate Morton's books have been published in 31 countries. The House at Riverton was a Sunday Times #1 bestseller in the UK in 2007 and a New Y
More about Kate Morton...
The Forgotten Garden The House at Riverton The Distant Hours Kate Morton Collection: The House at Riverton, The Forgotten Garden & The Distant Hours The Kate Morton Collection: The House at Riverton and The Forgotten Garden

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“It's a terrible thing, isn't it, the way we throw people away?” 40 likes
“Sometimes, Edie, a person's feelings aren't rational. At least, they don't seem that way on the surface. You have to dig a little deeper to understand what lies at the base” 26 likes
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