Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Book Review: The Secret Keeper

As y'all probably know by now, I participate in PB Finger's book club each month.  I love to read, and it's fun to post a review, participate in the discussion on her blog, and read other bloggers' reviews!

While I missed the deadline for my review to be posted, I still wanted to review the book.  This month's book was The Secret Keeper by Kate Monk.
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The story opens in 1961 with Laurel, a 16-year old girl, sitting in a tree house on her family's farm.  She sees a strange man appear on the property, and then watches as her loving, caring mother murders the man.

Fast forward to 2011, where Laurel is now a prominent actress and her mother, Dorothy, is on her death bed.  She hasn't told anyone about what she witnessed from the tree house that day, but she decides to investigate why her mother killed that stranger.

The story tells of Laurel's research as she looks for answers.  It also flashes back to Dorothy (also called Dolly)'s childhood and adolescence during the being of World War II.  Through detailed imagery, you learn about Dorothy's boyfriend Jimmy and her connection to a young lady named Vivien. 

My Thoughts

When I first read the description, I thought I would fly through this book.  I love mysteries, and with the murder occurring the first chapter, I was looking forward to a suspensful novel where each page would keep me guessing.

That's not exactly what I got.

This book is very, very long.  It took me about 200 pages until I was really invested in the story and actually cared to know more.  Kate Monk is very descriptive, which really does paint a wonderful picture of what's going on and creates very well-developed characters.  I just felt that some of the details given in the first 200 pages could have been left out.

In the last half of the book, I really got interested and really wanted to know how the story ended.  I had lots of predictions, but I was wrong about pretty much all of them.  I definitely DID NOT see the end of the book coming, and I'm really glad I stuck with it!

I also loved the historical aspect of the book.  My favorite sections were the flashback sections told from Dorothy, Jimmy, and Vivien's perspectives in the 1940s.  I love the World War II era, and I was really interested in their lives during that time.  I also found that those sections were the parts I read the fastest.

Overall, the book is very well written.  There are great characters, the story is well-developed, and the imagery is wonderful.  I'm on the fence about whether or not I would recommend it, though.  I know that a lot of people really like this book (the 83-person wait list for it at my library must say something!), but I had a really hard time getting in to it.  I was pleased with the way it ended, but I think the time it took me to really enjoy the story is what's holding me back from a glowing recommendation.

Questions for you: Have you read the Secret Keeper?  If so, what did you think?  If not, what was the last book you read that had a huge plot twist at the end? 
I'd love to hear reading suggestions, as well!  My to-read list is very long, but I love adding books to it :)

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