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Literature Review – The Secret Keeper


The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton


Review by Brenna B. (demiducky25)



I came across this book in an interesting way.  My mom wanted to read this book and was having trouble acquiring it through her local library, so I offered to request the book and have it sent to my library.  By the time I picked it up from my library and saw her again to give her the book, she had already gotten it herself and couldn’t stop talking about it.  Rather than return this book unread, I decided I should give it a shot since the description looked interesting, and boy am I glad I did!

The Secret Keeper follows Laurel’s quest learn about her dying mother Dorothy’s life.  Specifically, Laurel wants to know about a crime she witnessed Dorothy commit back in the 1960s when Laurel was sixteen years old.  The only other witness was Laurel’s toddler brother, Gerry.  Laurel moved away from home, pushed this event into the far corners of her mind, and became a world-renowned actress.  Fifty years later, one of Laurel’s sister’s finds a photograph of her mother and another woman and an inscription in a book from World War II that no one understands.   This sends Laurel on a journey to learn about her mother, the book, and the other woman in the picture in hopes of making sense of the crime she witnessed so many years earlier.  Laurel’s research opens the door to events that happened in Dorothy’s childhood all the way through World War II and beyond and what she discovers about her mother makes her question if her own happy childhood was a lie.

I really can’t describe this book without given away its secrets, so I’m sorry if the description above is a bit clunky.  Kate Morton does a fantastic job of weaving together so many seemingly unconnected threads.  Each word was chosen carefully and nothing is said that doesn’t play a role in unraveling the mystery later.  There are a lot of time-jumps in this book: one chapter takes place in modern day, then the next in the 1960s, then the next in modern day, then another in World War II and the perspective shifts between characters as well.  I didn’t find this a problem since Morton clearly lets you know at the start of each chapter where in time you are, but I know some people aren’t fans of this type of story-telling so I figured I should mention it.  I thought that the constant shifting added to the story since you wanted to keep reading to find out what happened.  I had a hard time putting this book down, and was disappointed when it was over (not because of the ending because the ending was amazing but because it was done- I enjoyed the ride so much I didn’t want it to end)!  If you want a book with twists and turns, one that will keep you guessing until the very end, then this is a book for you.  I can’t recommend it highly enough.  It’s one of the best books I’ve read in a while, and as soon as I’m done writing this review I plan to start reading Morton’s earlier book The Forgotten Garden, which my mom thought was an even better book than The Secret Keeper.  Since I think so highly of this book, I can’t wait to see what I’m in for with The Forgotten Garden.




My rating- 5 out of 5 stars








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2 Responses to “Literature Review – The Secret Keeper”

  1. MIRAH W. (mwelday) says:

    Great review. I definitely need to read this one. I’ve read The Forgotten Garden and The House at Riverton and loved both. Kate Morton is an excellent storyteller. Hope you enjoy The Forgotten Garden.

  2. […] Note: To read Brenna’s review of The Secret Keeper, click this LINK […]

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