THE SECRET KEEPER is a book written by best-selling author Kate Morton. Morton hit the fame's high when her first novel The House At Riverton became an international best-seller.
I have bought this novel some time ago and it has been resting on my shelf until two weeks ago, when I decided to give it a go. As you all know, I am not a big reader of Adult novels as they continuously failed to impress me. I usually stay within the genres I love - Young Adult Novels and Romance, but this book caught my eye. And of course, there is the fact that I am trying to widen my horizons.
Praised by various publications and media, I decided to give it a try and find out for myself, what is this book about. And who wouldn't want to read a book which impressed so many!
"A nuanced exploration of family secrets and betrayal, Morton's latest is captivating. " PEOPLE
" An evocative tale of wartime secrets... beguiling." MARIE CLAIRE GOOD BOOK CLUB
"A haunting story... packed with memorable characters and evocative settings. Cleverly constructed and beautifully written, this is the perfect summer read." CHOICE
Now, reading these reviews, you might think: "Wow, that does sound interesting. You are in for a treat.!" I want you to remember the last recommendation written by Choice. We will come back to in at the end.
Firstly, let me give you a quick summary of the story. We are meeting Laurel who lives a happy family life with 3 sisters, parents and small brother in country sides. Some of us might find the life boring, but the Nicholsons family is a happy family. Until one hot summer day, when Laurel witnesses how her mother Dorothy kills a man. With a cake knife.
Years later, Laurel is Oscar winning actress (twice to be precise) and what has happened that summer afternoon is still on her mind. Her mother is dying and before she passes away, Laurel wants to find out why her mother did such an awful act against another human being.
It all sounds intriguing, doesn't it? I am expecting to not be able to put the book down. Maybe there will be spies for the german or USA. Adventure. Excitement. A Mind-blowing story...
Instead I am stuck with family saga, which is wonderfully written, but pretty boring. I am sorry Ms Morton, but you don't need to write a full paragraph describing how a girl sit on a bed. This book is too descriptive. Too much detail - no room for imagination. And sometimes I just think that the author is just mumbling on. Just get to the point. Make it interesting! Please... I am begging you!
I've been struggling with this book for 2 whole weeks. 588 pages of lost time. I love reading, but through this story I found myself looking for other things to do than read the story. And that is not good. I was able to put it down too easily.
Yes, I can understand that this is an adult novel. And maybe the mumbling of the author is part of adult writing, but I could not relate to any of the main characters. Dolly is a spoilt brat. I caught myself wanting to slap her to realise that there is a war going on around her, people are losing families, homes..everything. And all she cares about is pretty things and that her friend didn't acknowledge her in front of the husband. So I know, I am going to hatch a plan to blackmail her because I think it's justified. NO NO NO!! Girl, wake up!!
Jimmy Metcalf. What a lovely man stuck in love with a pretty girl who actually rejects the proposal for marriage because he isn't rich and she is ashamed of him. And when she decides to come back to him, it's only to use him to full-fill her ill blackmail plan. Boy, seriously, get another girl! This one is not worth the effort!
Anyways, I did continue to read on, even when it has been forced so I can write an honest review about this novel. 350 pages in and I am still finding it boring, we are no closer to find out what has happened. I understand that this is only a part where the author is setting up the scene for a big revelation. But OH MY GOD, make it interesting!! But then it all changes in the third part of the book named VIVIEN. And I am finally meeting a character I am warming up to. I love Vivien. She is such a wonderful person and her story is the best one. I keep reading on and finally get to the big UNEXPECTED TWIST. THANK GOD. I am finally starting to enjoy this book 22 chapters in. That's a very long time.
So I finished the book this morning. I must say that the twist at the end saved the author. Finally I understood why she was telling the story through four different characters. But she could save me a lot of wasted time. I would write it a different way. I didn't like the idea of jumping to presence where Laurel is trying to find out what has happened all those years ago. I don't think it's good for the book. The author could save a lot more trees if the story would be written a slightly different way.
So back to what the CHOICE MAGAZINE said about this book. A haunting story? No, this is not a haunting story. It's actually a pretty boring story with a great twist at the end, but it's not haunting. When you finish the book, you do not sit for a while and think about it. You just put it back on the bookshelf and do not come back to it for a couple of years, if EVER. It's a story which doesn't leave a mark on you.
A book packed with memorable characters and evocative settings? There are two memorable characters. Jimmy and Vivien. Dorothy is just spoilt girl who needs a slap. Evocative settings ? Yes. I did enjoy the parts which took place in London bombed through the WWII.
Cleverly constructed and beautifully written? I can agree with that. Every single chapter which is written in 1941 ties together nicely at the end. So yes, it's cleverly constructed and yes, it's beautifully written. A bit too much descriptive, but beautiful words were used.
A perfect summer read? Now, that depends on how you want to look at it. If you want something to kill the time while sunning on the beach, that yes. You can put the book down and then come back to it later couple days after and you won't miss a thing. But if you are looking for a book which will capture your attention and wouldn't let go.. then the answer is NO. Not for me at least.
So to summarise what I thought about The Secret Keeper. A Pretty boring book with a great unexpected ending and twist. I wish though, that the author would spend less time describing the settings and more time on the story itself.
I Read it. I Wrote the review. I Put it back on my book shelf and won't come back to it. Sorry Kate Morton. But I really didn't like the book for good 75% and wouldn't want to suffer through it again.