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review 2016-10-13 00:00
The Safe-Keeper's Secret
The Safe-Keeper's Secret - Sharon Shinn Sharon Shinn is one of my comfort read authors. I don't find her books particularly ground-breaking and they don't make me think too hard but they're comforting to read and I enjoy slipping into the worlds she creates. This one though kind of left a bad taste in my mouth, which is a shame as there were parts I really liked.

The book is really more world building then plot heavy, as nothing much happens beyond two characters growing up and discovering their place in the world. Fiona and Reed are the children of the village Safe-Keeper Damiana, though Reed isn't actually her son but a child left on her doorstep as she was giving birth. And they grow up, there are some sorrows in their lives and at the end the big secret of parentage is revealed leaving an opening for the sequel to further explore what happens next.

The world building is interesting, there are Safe-Keepers, Dream-Makers, and Truth-Tellers. All magical positions. Truth-Tellers cannot lie, and often know the truth of things unbidden. Dream-Makers can make wishes come true simply by being around those wishing. The Safe-Keepers keep secrets, all manner of things that people tell them and they will not reveal. And it's the Safe-Keepers where some of my distaste comes from. In this society they act very much like priests hearing confession, they bear the burdens of those terrible truths that people need to tell and there is no danger that those terrible secrets will be revealed. In order to show just how much a Safe-Keeper will keep a secret it's revealed that one of the secrets Damiana keeps is that a woman abuses her children, like leaves them bloody and tied to a door abuses them. But she doesn't tell anyone until that woman is dead. I, obviously, have a lot of issues with this. Especially as it's presented as a neutral thing, not good not bad, just neutral. Not my favorite.

The other thing is a bit more spoilery and it has to do with the romance that Shinn develops in the story between Fiona and Reed. I don't like it, and I think it's gross. I know they aren't technically blood-related, but even so they were raised as siblings.

As I said, Shinn's books are generally comfort reads, and aside from those two issues, this one isn't really that different. I liked it enough to think about picking up the next book in the series, but it's not my favorite work of hers.
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review 2016-06-07 12:39
The Secret Keeper de Kate Morton
The Secret Keeper - Kate Morton

Laurel Nicolson es una estrella del teatro y del cine, uno de los rostros más queridos de Inglaterra y un referente para toda nueva actriz, pero también es una persona que ha intentado no distanciarse de su familia (con mediano éxito) y debe volver a su viejo hogar cuando su madre se encuentra agonizante. El conflicto que Laurel siente con ella va más allá de algunas disputas de ideales, se centra en un momento concreto en su vida: cuando la vio asesinar a un hombre en el jardín de su casa.


Al sostener un libro de Kate Morton uno sabe algunos puntos que contiene: secretos familiares, falsas identidades, saltos en el tiempo, escritores oscuros, giros narrativos, una protagonista en un momento trunco en su vida, un indicio de posible romance y un cuidado especial a la recreación de la época. Todo esto es algo positivo en muchas instancias, pero luego de encontrarlos juntos en un tercer libro de la autora, uno comienza a sospechar si no será un poco predecible.


Hay un gran trabajo en la prosa, acompañada de un conocimiento de la época que se busca a relucir y muchas veces aporta, pero a veces termina afectándola, aleja al lector en vez de dar una mayor inmersión en la historia, sobre todo en el comienzo del libro que se hace pesado y tarda en lograr un ritmo constante. Pero en un nivel más general, la atención al detalle permite que la ficción funcione y lleve a momentos muy interesantes, genuinos.


Otro de los problemas es la falta de conexión que uno siente con el personaje de Dorothy, la madre de Laurel. Llega a resultar frustrante, antipático más que nada porque se lo encasilla en el lugar de heroína, y el tener su punto de vista (bastante subjetivo) durante un tramo largo de la historia logra cansar al lector, aún cuando resulte vital para la historia.


El giro logra reparar algunas carencias que se puedan encontrar en el libro, pues hila cabos sueltos, pero estos son tan evidentes que uno puede adivinar la sorpresa antes de llegar al final.


Aún así, debo mencionar que muchas de las fallas pueden venir de varios problemas en la traducción que se traspasan a la obra tanto en el vocabulario como en la sintaxis. Suenan extrañas muchas situaciones, muchos nombres, en un intento de asemejarse lo más posible al texto en inglés. Muchas veces logra desconcentrar y me hacen replantearme leer el próximo libro en español.

Lo cual no significa que sea un mal libro, hay una línea argumental clara (aunque entreverada para ir deshilando) y momentos inspirados que hacen disfrutable la lectura, pero entre tantas similitudes uno no puede evitar recomendar trabajos mejores de la autora.

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review 2015-07-31 14:58
The Secret Keeper
The Secret Keeper - Kate Morton

Author: Kate Morton

Rating: 3.5 stars


Book Blurb: During a party at the family farm in the English countryside, sixteen-year-old Laurel Nicolson has escaped to her childhood tree house and is dreaming of the future. She spies a stranger coming up the road and sees her mother speak to him. Before the afternoon is over, Laurel will witness a shocking crime that challenges everything she knows about her family and especially her mother, Dorothy.      Now, fifty years later, Laurel is a successful and well-regarded actress, living in London. She returns to the family farm for Dorothy’s ninetieth birthday and finds herself overwhelmed by questions she has not thought about for decades. From pre-WWII England through the Blitz, to the fifties and beyond, discover the secret history of three strangers from vastly different worlds—Dorothy, Vivien, and Jimmy—who meet by chance in wartime London and whose lives are forever entwined.  


Though not as good as The Forgotten Garden, which is still Kate Morton's best novel in my opinion, this was good. Not great. But good.  It loses a star because I could not stand the main character, Dorothy(Dolly as she is referred to in the book). She was the reading equivalent of nails on a chalkboard. Selfish, manipulative, self- absorbed- argh. The story is well written, transporting with a monster twist at the end. I figured out the twist at about 360 pages in but it was still enjoyable to keep reading to see if I was right.  It's a satisfying ending, if bittersweet. The well done mystery of what really happened to Vivien, Dolly and Jimmy will appeal to mystery fans and the well written narrative will hook you if you just like reading a good turn of phrase.


The book is a tad slow, it could've come in at about 100 pages less and not lost anything.


This was an enjoyable read and I'd recommend it to fans of historical fiction.


I still have The Distant Hours to read to be all caught up on Morton's books before her new release comes out later this year. I look forward to it.


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text 2015-07-24 21:00
Reading progress update: I've read 91 out of 481 pages.
The Secret Keeper - Kate Morton

Is there anything better than a Kate Morton novel?


Though- to be honest-  I had the same problem with this book as I did with The Forgotten Garden - also by Kate Morton. The beginning 50 pages or so leave me meh- tempting me to put it down. Then after about 70  - I will physically hurt someone if they try and interrupt my reading. I don't know why and I don't know when the change happens.


The Forgotten Garden is one of my favorite books. Definitely in my top ten. If you haven't read it- please do!


Oh and give it at least 50 pages...


But be warned  - that book ruined me for other books for a while after, as good books often do.


Right now I'm hooked on this one. It will be accompanying me to the park later.


Happy reading!

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review 2015-04-10 17:06
Talk about your twist ending!!
The Secret Keeper - Kate Morton

Whoever wrote the blurb on the back of The Secret Keeper, was not exaggerating. You will most definitely be surprised by all the twists and turns of this mystery. It is so multilayered that I often wondered how all of the different narrative threads converged...then about 30 pages from the end I started to suspect I had figured out the BIG reveal. In a book that was almost 500 pages long, this is quite the feat. Morton's characters are so vibrant that they fairly leap off of the page. It's separated into 4 different sections that focus on different characters and help to gradually fill in the details of the secret (hence the name) that has loomed large over Laurel's life since she was sixteen years old. Most of the story is focused on London during the Blitz of WWII and it's clear that the author did her research on the time period which further enriches the story. In fact, Kate Morton has earned herself a spot on my Favorite Authors List. (Also, I bought another one of her books that I'll be reviewing a little later this year.)

Source: readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com
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