1961: On a sweltering summer’s day, while her family picnics by the stream on their Suffolk farm, sixteen-year-old Laurel hides out in her childhood tree house dreaming of a boy called Billy, a move to London, and the bright future she can’t wait to seize. But before the idyllic afternoon is over, Laurel will have witnessed a shocking crime that changes everything.
2011: Now a much-loved actress, Laurel finds herself overwhelmed by shades of the past. Haunted by memories, and the mystery of what she saw that day, she returns to her family home and begins to piece together a secret history. A tale of three strangers from vastly different worlds – Dorothy, Vivien and Jimmy–who are brought together by chance in wartime London and whose lives become fiercely and fatally entwined…
Our Monday Night group have read big books before, but this brick by Kate Morton won everyone’s approval with its well researched theme, excellent characterisation and intriguing plot. Everyone found it easy to read, even with the constant switching back and forth within the decades of the story. We all agreed that a good writer is needed to do this successfully.
We discussed the structure of Morton’s story, as she grabs the reader within the first chapter, continues to move the plot at a clip and throws in a nice twist in the end. Did she have a formal? We suspect so, as all her books are of much the same volume. A few of our group will be reading more of Morton and will let us know.
There was also discussion on Morton herself, who seems young to be writing a story with so much scope, and some felt there could be a measure of biographical aspects to her story. Or is she just a natural storyteller? Possibly. Her ability to create Secret Keeper’s closing bombshell makes it highly likely in our opinion.
Jean was the only one of us who actually picked the conclusion, but in no way did this lessen her enjoyment and although Delia found the story not quite powerful enough for her particular taste, it was unanimously agreed that this is a great read with our recommendation level indicator on high!