Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Staff Picks

I want to share my discovery this year of author Kate Morton. Basically, she is just a great storyteller. All the elements I love are there in each of her books: a historical setting, a family secret hidden for many years, a contemporary character searching for clues to reveal the secret, the narrative of the character in the past, and the slow revelation of the circumstances surrounding the secret.

Best of all is the setting that ties together the characters, the family history, and the secret: an ancient, brooding house or estate in the English countryside reminiscent of Manderley, the house in Daphne Du Maurier’s novel, Rebecca. As with Manderley, theses house are so infused with character and the ghosts of previous events and inhabitants that the house itself is almost a character in the story.

Morton’s novel are:

The House at Riverton
The novel takes place in the period between the wars with lots of Jazz Age atmosphere. The main character is a housemaid for an aristocratic family giving the feel of "Downton Abbey."

The Forgotten Garden
The novel takes place before the Great War and the garden in the title reminds readers of The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett and is full of fairy tale illusion.

The Distant Hours
Once again, a fabulous old manor house that whispers the secrets of three eccentric sisters during World War II.

The Secret Keeper
Also set during World War II and the 1960’s, I am currently reading this novel and savoring every page because I know there isn’t another Kate Morton novel waiting for me to read at this time!

Holly Raus
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