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The Secret Keeper

4.13  ·  Rating details ·  143,984 ratings  ·  14,756 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
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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!
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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Average rating 4.13  · 
Rating details
 ·  143,984 ratings  ·  14,756 reviews

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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
Jeanette (Ms. Feisty)
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
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
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 very
Feb 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
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
Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽
3.5 stars for this dual-timeline historic novel, with an emphasis on WWII-era London. 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 Laurel, other than the explanation she gave the police (which Laurel knows isn't true), and Laurel never asked her mother about it. Now Laurel is much o ...more
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
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
Sep 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Ever since I read my first book by Kate Morton, I've been keen to read all her others. This month I went with The Secret Keeper since I tend to love books where there's a secret buried somewhere that must come out despite every intent to bury it years ago. I was thrilled with the novel and can't wait to take on the next one.

The book takes place over a period of ~60 years focusing for the most part on Dorothy (Dolly) and daughter Laurel. We see snapshots of their lives while Laurel tries to unrav
Em Lost In Books
Going back and forth in timelines of 1941, 1961, and 2011, this was a story full of dark secrets, ambition, jealousy, and forgiveness.

I will write a proper review for this later.
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
Yianna Yiannacou
Sep 04, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Wow, just wow. Kate Morton has done it again. This book kept me hooked the entire time. She has a way with words that enthralls you and keeps you wanting more and more. 

This book is about a young woman named Laurel and she wants to figure out her mothers past. After seeing a horrific scene when she was younger, and her mother now on her death bed, she finds it more important that she figures out why her mother did what she did to protect her family. 

There were so many twist and turns and even mo
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
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.
Oct 07, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
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
Sep 29, 2013 rated it really liked it
2013 F.A.B. Bookclub pick # I.❤️. F.A.B.
Iryna *Book and Sword*
3/5 stars

Two things saved this book for me: Vivien and the twist at the end. If not for that I was fully prepared to give this book 2 stars and be done with it.

​For starters, 480 pages is way too long for a mystery novel. Even if this is a historical fiction mystery (although there was't nearly as much history in it as I'd have liked for I love myself a good war story!) - it was just way too drawn out.

​Take it from Agatha Christie, the mystery queen herself, a good mystery doesn't and shouldn't
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
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
Anne Bogel
Sep 23, 2013 rated it it was amazing
My favorite by Kate Morton, and I've read them all. ...more
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
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 {} 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
Lisa Dunckley
May 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
Powerfully written, suspenseful book! I love books that are two stories in one—this one had the WWII story of Dorothy and Vivien and Jimmy and Henry, and then the story of Dorothy's daughter Lauren trying to solve the mystery of her mother's life.

The story starts with a bang! Set at a family party, where a strange man shows up and Lauren's loving, kind, wonderful mother Dorothy immediately stabs him to death.

When Dorothy is on her deathbed, she starts to ramble and become upset about something s
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 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
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
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
Melissa Rose
Nov 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
There are very few books that I could read/listen to three times and still enjoy. However, for me, The Secret Keeper is one that I can’t help but come back to every few years.

First off, what attracts me to this story (and Kate Morton’s books in general), is that the characters and the tale are all expertly laid out over the course of 20 hours of listening; alternating between voices of past and present, it is impossible not to be hooked immediately.

Furthermore, when it comes to characterization,
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
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KATE MORTON 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 theatre and the house lights dim.


Articles featuring this book

The gothic novelist spins a family mystery over half a century in The Secret Keeper, in which a daughter uncovers her mother's early years during...
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“It's a terrible thing, isn't it, the way we throw people away?” 73 likes
“A true friend is a light in the dark. Viven” 36 likes
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