Greetings, from the edge of the Path of Totality! I love that term. It’s so geeky that it’s cool. But now that eclipse fever is behind us, let’s talk books.
Is it really August? Yes! And I have two freshly minted high school freshmen to prove it. Since it’s August, it’s time to talk about the “Kind of Like a Book Club” book, Kate Morton’s “The Secret Keeper.”
“The Secret Keeper” is a really well-written and cleverly structured mystery that spans a couple of generations in Great Britain. As 92-year-old Dorothy lays dying in a hospital, her daughter, Laurel, recalls a shocking incident she witnessed as a teenager. There are some unanswered questions about that incident, and the mystery is further compounded by things Dorothy says as medication and sickness cause her to confuse the past with the present.
Laurel’s quest to uncover the truth is also a journey back to WWII London and a time in her mother’s life when she was young and reckless. Laurel uncovers the truth mostly from journals and letters that had been preserved. But the reader gets much more detail than this as the author switches her narration back and forth between 1941 and 2011. Ms. Morton really makes London during the blitz come alive. She also has a real talent for developing very complex characters, especially young people who are grappling with defining who they want to be as adults. And she skillfully unfolded a very well thought out mystery. It was a very satisfying read and there will definitely be more Kate Morton in my future!
**** Spoilers beyond this point ****
So did you figure it out? The identity switch was one of the scenarios I considered, but then ruled out. The pictures tripped me up. Also, young Dorothy’s propensity for make believe was consistent with having a daughter who made a living from make believe – I thought she had passed along that character trait. Plus, living in the country by a stream was one of Dorothy’s dream scenarios for her life, so that threw me off, too. However, I was having a hard time reconciling the young, very self-absorbed Dorothy with the very loving mother of five, so that should have been a red flag.
Other random thoughts:
One of the other scenarios I considered was that Vivien and Jimmy both survived and ran off together. Even though they didn’t end up together, I’m glad they survived and eventually found love again.
How did Vivien pull off bequeathing her house to Jimmy’s dad?
How did both Jimmy and Henry find Vivien at Greeacres?
Kate Morton knows how to write appealing male characters.
So, what did everyone else think?