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The Secret Keeper

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4.13  ·  Rating details ·  111,097 Ratings  ·  12,608 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 October 2012)
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Amanda Clowe
This answer contains spoilers… (view spoiler)
Linda Palumbo Oh, I didn't think it had offensive language at all! What a great story. One of my all-time faves!

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
...more
Nancy
Oct 02, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
...more
Julie
The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton is a 2012 Atria publication.

When Laurel Nicolson was sixteen years old, she witnessed her mother, Dorothy, stab a man to death. The man was a stranger, but he seemed to know her mother and she seemed to recognize him, too. The matter was ruled self-defense and no charges were filed.

Now, decades later, after enjoying much success as an actress, Laurel returns home to celebrate her mother’s ninetieth birthday. With her mother’s descent into dementia becoming more
...more
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
...more
Melisa - Traveling Sister
ALL THE STARS. Every single one of them.

The Secret Keeper is a story of love; of family and friendships and human nature and perseverance.

Set during the Blitz of WWII and present day, the alternating timelines told from different characters are woven so beautifully and intricately to create the perfect story and mystery.

No one, and I mean NO ONE, does family secrets like Kate Morton. It is no secret that I am a huge fan of hers. Her stories are so well-developed and beautiful, her characters
...more
Jaline
Oct 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: xx2017-completed
A family saga of broad scope, this was an interesting story. Part mystery, part adventure, part romance, part war story, and all heart. This book is told in 4 parts – Laurel, Dolly, Vivien, and Dorothy. However, there is a crossover in characters throughout, and the time frame moves between the war years from 1939 through 1941 and the year of 2011. There are bits and pieces involving other characters and other time frames, but they exist only to set up or clarify these main characters and times. ...more
Anne
May 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-german
In the review of the last Kate Morton book I've read (The Distant Hours), I had complained about how I couldn't get a good "grip" on the characters and felt rather underwhelmed by their character traits. This time I felt the complete opposite!

I loved everyone involved in the story. This book was even more character-driven than her others. Of course there were several events happening (and I really liked the overall plot!), but the focus was on developing believable characters with strong persona
...more
Yianna Yiannacou
Sep 04, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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!
Margitte
COMMENTS
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
...more
Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽
I've gotten the impression that those who've read more than one Kate Morton book either love her writing or find it formulaic. Since this was 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 ki
...more
Karen
Oct 07, 2012 rated it really liked it
THE SECRET KEEPER by Kate Morton
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
...more
Jane C.
Oct 27, 2012 rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Brittany
Jun 08, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012-reads, netgalley
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
...more
Jackie
Nov 04, 2012 rated it it was ok
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
...more
Debbie "DJ"
Nov 01, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: own


This could easily be a five star book if it weren't for the length. Over 1200 pages is a little too much, and I felt the story could have been easily trimmed down. Although this is historical fiction during WW2, I didn't feel the gravity of the times these characters were living through. The main story, however, was outstanding. A mystery of a little girl who witnesses her mother kill a man. The rest of the book shifts from past to present, as the little girl who has grown up tries to uncover w
...more
Aoibhínn
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
...more
Y. L
Nov 10, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 {http://tiensblurb.wordpress.com/} 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
...more
Mish
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
Juliet
Oct 22, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Stepheny


Kate Morton tells the most fantastic stories. This was my second book by her and I am officially a fan. Her ability to throw you, head first, into her tales is unrivaled.

In this story we meet a young woman who is returning home to be by her mother’s death bed. When she arrives she finds that certain memories are creeping back and begging to be reevaluated. You see, when Laurel was a girl she witnessed her mother kill a man. Who is this man? What could he have possibly said or done that warrante
...more
Elizabeth
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
Bonnie
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
...more
Lisa
Feb 08, 2015 rated it really liked it
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
...more
DubaiReader
Dec 31, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2012, netgalley
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
...more
Beverly
Jul 31, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I can't even. This book sucked me in hard. Kate Morton is a master storyteller, weaving an intricate web between the past and present, and the events that have shaped the lives of a family.

I honestly thought I had this book figured out, and BAM! Not quite.


Five bright shiny stars.
Liviu
the Secret Keeper is a book that catapults Kate Morton from the rank of top historical fiction writers of today to my very short list of huge favorite writers period (of active authors who write historical fiction, Steven Saylor, Iain Pears and Christian Cameron are there, though of course Colleen McCullough would be there too if she were to write more historical fiction).

Actually there is some resemblance between Stone's fall and The Secret Keeper in the way that you have to read the book at le
...more
Pamela
"Don't you find it remarkable . . . that the whole world can be involved in this madness we call war, and all the while the flowers and the bees and the seasons keep on doing what they must, wise but never weary in their wait for humanity to come to its senses and remember the beauty of life?"

Absolutely, unequivocally, without a shadow of a doubt, hands down FABULOUS!!!

"I have come to know most surely . . . the belief system acquired in childhood is never fully escaped; it may submerge itself fo
...more
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
...more
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 b
...more
Judith Starkston
Imagine watching your loving, nearly perfect mother stand on the front stairs of your farmhouse, put the baby down behind her and stab a man to death and then act as if this brutal act had little to do with her? You’d probably accept your mother’s explanation of self-defense against a random attack. And so Laurel Nicolson did for fifty years. But now, when her mother is near the end of her life, a chance discovery of a photo and a gnawing sense that she’s been keeping her mother’s secret for too ...more
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Books & Coffee: May 2018: The Secret Keeper 4 20 May 26, 2018 10:42AM  
Please help me find this WW2 novel! 1 10 Apr 04, 2018 03:05PM  
Vivien Jenkins 7 277 Dec 09, 2017 02:24PM  
Bookworm Bitches : April 2016: The Secret Keeper 11 162 Jul 16, 2017 06:25AM  
Play Book Tag: The Secret Keeper / Kate Morton. 3.75 stars 4 21 Apr 02, 2017 05:42PM  
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11,875 followers
KATE MORTON was born in South Australia, grew up in the mountains of south-east Queensland and now lives with her family in London and Australia. She has degrees in dramatic art and English literature, and harboured dreams of joining the Royal Shakespeare Company until she realised that it was words she loved more than performing. Kate still feels a pang of longing each time she goes to the theatr ...more
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