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The Secret Keeper
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☻Nikki☻ C (nikkic1998) | 480 comments The discussions for this book will start January 1st.

Please be courteous to others and don't post too many "spoilers" without at least posting what chapter you are on so others know if you are further ahead than what they themselves are. You may even use spoiler tags if you wish.

Most of all...Enjoy the book & the discussions.

Jennifer C I am about 2 hours into the story and on Ch.3.

I am liking the narrator and the story has definitely piqued my interest. I am looking forward to the ride home to hear what unfolds next - which is always a sign of a good book. :)

☻Nikki☻ C (nikkic1998) | 480 comments Reader Discussion Questions from Author's Website

1. Each of Kate Morton’s four novels are securely anchored in their strong sense of time and place. In The Secret Keeper, World War 2 is a rich and realistic environment -- close enough for memory but a long way from our 21st century lives -- which allows the author to show both the frailty and courage of human nature. Discuss.

2. The rusted-on loyalties of family members to each other are key in this novel. Do you think Dolly’s feelings of dis-ease about her own family contribute to her love of playing make-believe?

3. Laurel had never thought to ask her mother about her life before Dorothy met Stephen Nicolson. And it’s impossible for Dolly to imagine Lady Caldicott being young and beautiful wearing those glorious dresses now going musty in the dressing room. And Jimmy’s dad loves to tell his stories of the past. How is ageing portrayed in The Secret Keeper?

4. Many readers have commented on how extremely likeable Jimmy is - how has Kate Morton developed his character to make him so?

5. Do you think that The Secret Keeper’s characters live the lives they deserve? Were you satisfied and surprised at their various outcomes and their influences on each other?

6. Once you understood Dorothy’s reasons for committing that violent action at the end of chapter one, did you find any moral ambiguity in her behaviour? Did she really have a choice?

7. Everyone has their secrets. In The Secret Keeper, some more than others! Do you think Laurel is justified in upturning her mother’s carefully laid secrets? When is the keeping of a secret within a family justified?

Jennifer C Wow I love the question about how age is protrayed in this book. I definitely think that is a central topic and it refreshes my view on the book.

I think we take so much for granted with our family members. We live and breath their lives as far back as we can remember - how often do we remember that they had lives before us? I was just thinknig about this the other day - brought out by this book actually - about my relationship with my siblings in comparison to my mom's relationship with her siblings. I thought of how my brother and sister and I use to play together and fight together, I tried to imagine mom having that relationship with her siblings. It was pretty easy for me to do as they talk about their childhood a lot, but it still allowed me to look at her and my aunts and uncles from a different angle.

This one question has made me excited about this book again, just when I felt it was lagging. I look forward to listening some more to it.

I am 8 hours in and in Dorothy's part.

Jennifer C I have to say I am surprised at Dolly. I wasn't expecting her character to be so deep. I guess its pretty typical of how Women during the War are protrayed in books, but I am constantly kept on my toes, once I think I am on to her story, something else is thrown in that makes me doubt myself.

I have about 8 hours left. I am looking forward to seeing how this one turns out.

☻Nikki☻ C (nikkic1998) | 480 comments I am only about 4.5 hours into it (Chap. 9, I believe). I was really intrigued with the book at first but now I find it lagging a bit. I find my mind wandering at times & have to back it up & re-listen. I'm sure it will pick back up again.

So far, (view spoiler)

I hope it picks back up & gets a little more exciting soon. I've still got about 15 hours to go...whew!!

Jennifer C I felt the same way Nikki. I found myself drifting at a couple points as well. If I had to rate the book right now based on what I have listened to so far, I would rate it 3 stars. Its ok, nothing to get too excited about but it doesn't strike me as bad as The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling which I really really didn't like.

Sherrie (sbrittig) I'm not too far into this, and am just not feeling it yet--too much rambling for my taste and not enough delving into the heart of the matter. I'll keep at it and hope it piques my real interest soon!

Jennifer C I felt it rambles at times too

Carmela ☻Nikki☻ wrote: "I am only about 4.5 hours into it (Chap. 9, I believe). I was really intrigued with the book at first but now I find it lagging a bit. I find my mind wandering at times & have to back it up & re-li..."

Do you think that the issue is with the story or the narrator? I too have had to back up a few times. It is generally at the start of a new section. You know how it takes a while to get into a book. It feels like that happens at the start of each section. What do you think?

Sherrie (sbrittig) Finished this today. It got much more interesting for me, and I guessed at the main secret long before the end. Good story; nice interweaves of characters' lives.

☻Nikki☻ C (nikkic1998) | 480 comments I like the narrator somewhat. I wish she could change her voice more for the different characters though. That's part of why I think I get lost on where I am

Jennifer C Great question Carmela. I think perhaps it would have been easier to follow in book form because of all the time period and point of view jumping.

I finished this on Sunday and I was surprised at the ending. I didn't guess that at all. I am glad I continued on with the book. The characters surprised me as I had them pegged differently so I liked the element of surprise and change that seemed to be consistent throughout the book. I am not sure though, if there was too much change or not enough and that is why it dragged. I could give arguements for both.

I also agree with Nikki that the narrator could have changed her voice more. That was an issue for me too.

This is not a book I would normally pick up so I am glad to have been exposed to it. I don't regret the time I spent listening to it.

☻Nikki☻ C (nikkic1998) | 480 comments I'm about 9 hours into the book now & I enjoy parts of the story but like you said Jennifer, it does tend to drag.

I'm in the middle of Ch. 14 & (view spoiler)

I can't believe I still have 11 hours to go on this book though. I'm only listening on my work commute so it's taking a while. I probably will be another week at least, I'm thinking.

message 15: by Linda (new)

Linda Boyd (boydlinda95gmailcom) | 108 comments Nikki, do you think you would be enjoying this book more if you were reading it??? I'm still waiting on the audio version, I need to check to see how much longer, but maybe I should read this one instead or just forget about it altogether.

Jennifer C Linda I would recommend reading it and not waiting for the audio. I wouldn't recommend skipping it. I think its worth the read. Especially when you look at all the other female characters we have read about recently in our other group. I think this book gives us a different perspective on Women especially when you look at Dolly in WWII and the lead lady from City of Women by David R. Gillham (I don't remember her name).

☻Nikki☻ C (nikkic1998) | 480 comments I agree with Jennifer. Read's a decent story. The narrator isn't bad. I actually like listening to her, but I believe this story could be better followed while physically reading. It jumps back & forth from past to present and also changes Points of View. I've actually thought about finishing it up in book form, I'm pretty sure I have it, but hate to stop an audiobook in the middle.

☻Nikki☻ C (nikkic1998) | 480 comments I am currently in Ch. 18. (view spoiler)

I still have 9 hours to go. I am just not getting much listening time in. I was off work Thurs & Friday, so I didn't listen at all those 2 days. I will actually be traveling to Virginia to take my mom for a Dr. Appointment on Tuesday, but she is not an audiobook fan. Otherwise I could probably finish it up on that trip. We'll see, maybe she will fall asleep & I can turn it on :)

message 19: by Pat (last edited Jan 21, 2013 08:45AM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Pat (crabpatty) | 35 comments I just finished this book last week. It was with great relief when I got to the end. I thought I had read another of Kate Morton's, but I went through my list (Thanks, Goodreads! I could not have done it without you!)
But, this was the first, of Kate Morton. I listened to the accent. which I loved. What is it about British accents that we Americans find draws us? I was intrigued with the story for about the first 2 disks. But by the time I reached disk 8 I was ready to jump to the last disk to hear the end. I did not. I have been known at my Book Group to be a read the end and then go back and fill in if I am having a hard time with a story, or in a time crush.
That being said, I gagged through the next 8 through 15 waiting for the end to arrive. Waiting for details and although I was surprised at the end, happy with the ending too, I want to add. It was just, for me, too wordy. Too much bread for the small amount of meat.
Spoiler alert- I was glad that Vivien had a happy life. I was also happy to hear of the story of Jimmy. And all his details that were apparently signs of a good life afterall. I actually ended up not caring for Dolly all that much. I found her to be a scheming selfish girl.
There was some very quick thinking on Vivien's part when the roof caves in and Dolly is, well, you know-I don't want to spoil this, because it is a good part.
It explains the angst that "Dolly" feels as she is dying, and how she needs to clear her conscience? Put things right? Give Laurel the answers?
And Gerry. Funny how such a little tyke as he must have been, yet, he has a vague recall of the fateful event, but not enough to verbalize, also the fact that he is , what 2 years old? No matter how brilliant, 2 year old is still just not able to explain. But the nagging little feeling that he has is there. He and Laurel are the only two siblings that can bond over this. I did like that they kept the secret. Sometimes less is more. And it would have done none of the others any good to have known.
I would dare to criticize the length of the book to the point of the Library just got the Forgotten Garden in for me on Audio. But I have to send it back. I will wait a bit till I can listen to another long saga by Kate.
PS- Henry got what he deserved.

Jennifer C I completely agree with your assessment Pat. I felt the same way. You worded it perfectly.

☻Nikki☻ C (nikkic1998) | 480 comments I FINALLY FINISHED!!! I am glad I read the book but it was definitely too wordy. They could have condensed most of that. I was happy with the ending. I was very surprised...even though you all had said there was a surprising ending, I didn't expect that. (view spoiler)

I agree with everything Pat said as well. I'm not sure at this point, if I would ever read another Kate Morton book. I'll have to wait & see.

Jennifer C I don't know if i would either Nikki.

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