Thursday, March 7, 2013

The Secret Keeper - Kate Morton (Audio)

I won't bore you yet again with my loving tributes to Morton.  Well, maybe a little.  I've read everything she has written, this book (her latest) being the last in the line, which has put her in the ranks of Tana French and Sarah Waters.  That is...WRITE FASTER DAMMIT!  I can't get enough.

Morton has a special way about her, and maybe not to everyone's liking, but much to mine.  No matter the year in which the story takes place, there is a certain gothic feel.  She jumps around in time, usually multi-generational jumps, and there are lots and lots of secrets.  Her stories always feature a woman or two, feminine on the outside and steely beneath.  And she takes her time with getting on with it.  She is a Master Storyteller.  To appreciate that you must have patience and trust that she is going to take care of you.  So where does she take us this time?

Synopsis:  Sixteen year-old Laurel Nicolson is off sulking in her tree house, thinking about her boyfriend, when a strange man wanders up to her country home.  Laurel watches as the man approaches Lauren's mother, Dorothy, to which Dorothy's response is to stab the man in the chest, killing him.  The trauma of this event has stayed with Laurel her entire life, but only now, fifty years later and at the approach of Dorothy's death, does Laurel begin to question her mother's history.  

Morton takes us back to pre-WWII England through the blitz, to when Dorothy was a young woman trying to make it on her own.  Of her friend Vivian, who arrived in England from Australia as a catatonic orphan.  Of the dashing and charming Jimmy, who fell in love with Dorothy.  We learn more about that fateful day in the 1960's when Laurel was that dreamy teenager, and during the modern day, in Laurel's quest to find out the truth.  In a story about dreams, friendship, enduring love, betrayal, greed, and the secret lives of women before they marry and become mothers, Morton once again manages to entertain and entrance.

My thoughts:  Right out of the gate, I will admit that I was unsure about where this story was going.  I love Morton, and I trust her, but the story seemed slow and unremarkable.  But the author kept prying up layers, lies, secrets, twists, threads all knotted up and needing to be untangled.  And soon, I couldn't stop listening.  She had hooked me again.  

Morton really does an amazing job of creating unique characters that could stand up and walk off a page.  She takes her time in building them, so you really get to know them, their motivations and foibles.  One character charmed me, but then I wasn't charmed at all, I was HATING them.  I was smitten with another.  And another was admirable...the one that made you want to be a better person.  The emotions!  Of all the players in the novel, I was probably least attached to Laurel.  She was the vehicle that moved the story along, doing her research and answering my questions.  

Despite the fact that I am used to Morton's trickery and twists, I was completely blown away at the end.  I didn't see it coming, and it was crazy memorable and left me speechless for awhile.  It takes a lot to make me speechless.

A few words about the audio production:  I'm not sure I really need to repeat myself on this topic, but I'm a card-carrying member of the Caroline Lee fan club.  She narrates all of the Morton books and she is fabulous, with her delicate little accents and girlish voice.  If you can manage to read these books on audio, I would highly recommend it.

Audio book length:  19 hours and 54 minutes (496 pages)

5 out of 5 stars         



21 comments:

bermudaonion said...

I haven't tried Morton yet but this sounds wonderful! I need a car trip to tackle an audio that long.

rhapsodyinbooks said...

well, what can I say you haven't said, except that it was fun when you didn't know the ending yet! LOL

Meg @ write meg! said...

Oh dear -- I'm so behind on the Morton love! I've heard so many good things, especially from you, and have had her in my TBR forever... to be perfectly honest, I think this is the novel I own, but I'm not entirely sure. Something about the sheer size of her work intimidates me. Maybe audio would be a good route to take!

Zibilee said...

I just finished Morton's The Distant Hours, and I really liked it, and wanted more, so I ordered The Forgotten Garden from the library. It was different than anything that I have read before, and had a way of meandering, but it was lovely. I am a Morton fan as well!

Trisha said...

Every now and then you just want to send a short note to an author in which you tell them to stop dilly-dallying and bust out some more books. :)

Marce said...

I had a recent poll on what book should I read first from her and The Forgotten Garden and Secret Keeper were the winners, I definitely will read one this year.

Emma said...

I loved that one very much. I have finally read all of Morton's book. not sure yet which one I prefer. The House at Riverton was my least favorite though.
http://wordsandpeace.com/2012/10/01/2012-48-review-the-secret-keeper/

Literary Feline said...

I have two of Morton's books sitting in my TBR collection and still have yet to read her. I really must. This book sounds like something I would really like. Okay. I'm making her an must read this year author!

Nicole (Linus's Blanket) said...

I tried so hard to get into this one and I just couldn't, and then I see posts like this and want to try again. I think when I have some time I will try to make it to 100 pages. I think right now, I am languishing at 50, and I'm just not into anything.

JoAnn said...

I loved the audio version of Morton's The Forgotten Garden - listened to most of it on the treadmill and the story was a great motivator to keep moving. Sounds like this should be on my list, too!

Belle Wong said...

I haven't tried Morton yet, but your review of this one has me sold - I just put a hold on the audio version at the library. Then I couldn't resist so I peeked around your archives to read about the other Morton titles. The Forgotten Garden sounds so good, too! My library has that in ebook format, so I think I'll give that one a try too.

Tasha said...

The end completely surprised me, too! I love her writing style, and I think I'd pretty much read anything she wrote.

Ti said...

I might have this one somewhere on my shelf. I also might have the audio!

Melissa (Avid Reader) said...

I'm so glad this one was great! I love her work so much and I'm always worried I'll be disappointed because my expectations are so high, but I never am.

Anna said...

I've heard this one takes awhile to get going but it's worth it in the end. I have this book and really need to make time for it!

Julie P. said...

I so need to read this one! I've heard nothing but wonderful things and I'm kind of in the mood for a book like this.

Bonnie said...

I am a fan of Morton's as well and am currently reading The Secret Keeper now and loving it. I am glad that you didn't post any spoilers as I scanned your review and now I feel like I need to go pick it up and finish it to get to the ending!! I haven't read all of her books so I will have to give her audio books a try since you recommend the narrator.

softdrink said...

I just purchased a Morton from audible...but I can't remember which one. So glad to hear she's a favorite of yours!

Jenners said...

I am listening to this one right now (almost done) and I still can't quite figure out how this is all going to fit together. I'm loving the narrator too -- I think these are all going to be audio for me.

stacybuckeye said...

Still a Morton virgin, but hope to rectify that this year!

Kathleen said...

You've convinced me to read this!