The Secret Keeper
It’s 1961, and 16-year-old Laurel Nicolson is hiding in a tree house during a family celebration, wanting only a few minutes alone as she contemplates her future. When she hears a stranger approaching, she is shocked to see a confrontation between the man and her mother; when a desperate crime occurs, Laurel and her two-year-old brother Gerry are the only witnesses. And though Laurel speaks in defense of her mother, she never forgets the scene and its disruption of their calm family life in the English countryside.
Fast forward 50 years, and Laurel, now a famous actress, returns home to help her three sisters tend to their dying mother, Dorothy. As time grows smaller, Laurel becomes more determined to discover precisely what happened on that long ago day, and she enlists Gerry to help her track down the relationship between Dorothy and her friend Vivien, who might have known what led to the confrontation she witnessed. As the layers are slowly revealed, Laurel begins to realize that her happy, loving mother had a past that holds more secrets than she ever imagined.
Though I initially felt the story started a little slowly, I soon found myself gripped as Laurel dug into her mother’s story, finding clues that led her back in time to the London Blitz. The story moves through several points of view, including those of Laurel, Dorothy, and Vivien, with each character building on the other’s experiences. The ultimate revelation left me feeling completely satisfied. Morton’s story is much more than a family saga; it’s an historical mystery that impacts multiple generations. This novel is definitely going on the keeper shelf!