Recent Read: The Secret Keeper

By Erin MacNeil - 11:54

If you asked me what my favourite book genre was, I generally wouldn't answer with 'mysteries'. I don't know why I hesitate to embrace mysteries, especially now that I've read my fair share of them. I think part of me thinks that mystery novels are a little bit cheesy? Regardless of that little bit of my brain, I chose yet another mystery novel when I went to Coles a few weeks ago. And, do you know what? It was pretty freakin' good.

I chose The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton, which I've had in my to-read shelf on Goodreads for over a year. I was drawn in by a World War II setting (who doesn't like some war-era fiction?), as well as a really interesting back-of-the-book plot summary.

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 fatefully entwined.
Shifting between the 1930s, the 1960s and the present, The Secret Keeper is a spellbinding story of mysteries and secrets, theatre and thievery, murder and enduring love. (x)

As I read The Secret Keeper I found myself interested in how all the details and characters fit together, but I wasn't desperate to understand. I definitely wanted to know the ending, to learn what happened to influence that shocking crime. That might be the only downside to The Secret Keeper,  for me. And, that said, I finished the book, so clearly I was curious enough to read nearly 500 pages. I'm nosy like that.

I did like a lot of different things about The Secret Keeper, though, don't get me wrong. The actual mystery of the novel was fantastic. There are so many twists and mind-boggling details that are unearthed throughout the story. Those details made it absolutely impossible for me to guess the ending. And, I feel like even if you are a better mystery-solver than I you're likely to get stumped somewhere along the line and still be surprised as well.

Another part of the book that I really liked was how Kate Morton chose to incorporate different narrators. She did the different perspectives and points of view in such a way that the mystery was enhanced. You were still learning details that could help with solving the mystery (I really should be saying mysteries), but you still kind of need to read to learn all of the secrets. The multiple perspectives helps enhance mysteries while also leaving just enough of a hint to keep the reader guessing. Plus, I like multiple perspectives when they're done well, as is the case with this book.

Finally, a last aspect that I really appreciated was that the ending was so, so satisfying. You know how, sometimes, mystery endings are a little less exciting that you've been expecting?  I mean, I can't tell you that The Secret Keeper has an exciting ending, but I can say that it has a fantastic ending. Seriously I was so satisfied with every last detail of the ending. It's one of those endings that make you want to go back to the beginning and see the early details that you thought nothing of initially. All of these details and clues finally come together and the pieces fall into place and you exclaim 'Yaaaas!' in the middle of the night. Trust me.

So, if you were looking for a new book to read, I can only hope that this convinced you to read The Secret Keeper. Even if you're not really in to mysteries, either. It's not a detective story, or anything like that. It's just a woman doing her family tree, or even doing some historical research to learn the full story behind a, you know, shocking crime. It's a good 'un, I promise.

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