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Book Review: The Secret Keeper

Posted Feb 02 2013 10:17pm

Hi everyone! I hope you are having a wonderful weekend so far! I am just popping in with a quick book review as part of Peanut Butter Fingers’ book club , but of course I’ll be back on Monday with a full recap of my weekend :)

This month for the book club we read The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton.

Plot Overview

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In the beginning of the book, we are introduced to Laurel Nicolson, a typical sixteen year old girl living among her many sisters, baby brother, and parents in the 1960′s. Laurel is hiding out in a tree house when we first meet her, in order to get some peace and quiet from her noisy family and dream about her future.

Laurel’s peaceful reverie is disrupted when she sees a stranger walking up her driveway. She immediately gets a sense of foreboding  and feels that something awful is about to happen. Laurel then sees her mother talking to the stranger when — all of a sudden — Laurel’s mother abruptly brings a knife down on the stranger and kills him.

Laurel’s mother didn’t know anyone saw the violent exchange, until a police investigation later that evening revealed that Laurel witnessed the whole thing. Laurel backs up her mother’s story that the man was dangerous and it was self-defense, but she knows in her heart that there was something more going on.

The story then switches to 2011, when Laurel is an adult and is heading back home to celebrate her mother’s ninetieth birthday party. Laurel realizes that her mother’s health is deteriorating and this may be her last chance to talk to her about the stranger that she killed that day when Laurel was sixteen.

Laurel spends the next few weeks talking to her mother and doing a little digging of her own, when she unearths some deep secrets about her mother’s past, including a former lover and an old friend who died suddenly and mysteriously.

Throughout the book Laurel finally pieces together the mystery of her mother’s past and realizes that while there was so much she didn’t understand about her mother before, she is still the wonderful role model she always was and Laurel loves her no matter what.

My Opinion

This book was a bit slow-going for me and I admit it took me quite a while to get through it. I think the biggest problem for me was that the book kept switching between characters and settings, and early on it was really difficult for me to remember who I was reading about and during what time period. I think another thing that complicated this matter is that all three heroines- Laurel, Dorothy, and Vivien – shared similar character traits and personalities, so it was hard to keep their stories straight at times.

Other than that I really liked the mystery behind this book and I couldn’t wait to get to the bottom of it all. There was one pretty big plot twist (which I figured would happen) but I was still caught off-guard with how everything unfolded. The story itself was brilliant.

I also really liked the descriptive writing in this story. There was one scene in particular – when Vivien was swimming by the stream – that I absolutely loved reading. The imagery made me feel like I was right there which was lovely.

One last thought about this book is that I wish there was more of a final lesson to be learned from the story. I felt like I read a fun tale but that I didn’t really take anything away for myself. I guess you could say I learned to appreciate what I have in the moment, because it could all be gone in a flash, but I wish the author had elaborated a little more on this point. I felt like Laurel solved the mystery and then it was over. I would have appreciated a bit more closure and discussion about her feelings.

All in all I really liked this book (once it got going) and I would definitely recommend it!

To read more book reviews, please check out my book review page .

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