September’s book of the month is not a book at all, but an author that I have fallen gloriously in love with.
I first encountered Kate Morton when I read her book The Forgotten Garden, which I enjoyed well enough. Since that time, I have gotten my hands on each of her books – four in total – and devoured all of them with gusto. She is a master storyteller, weaving together different time periods, concealing secrets, and always ending with a twist. Even when you think you see it coming, you don’t. Not really. As well, every novel has a secondary main character: the main setting. Whether it is the grand house of Riverton or Milderhust Castle, the buildings in Morton’s novel are essential to her stories, and seem to live and breathe themselves.
Here are her four novels, ranked from best to not-as-best (because even her worst novel is not really WORST):
The Secret Keeper
This one BLEW MY MIND. When the secret at the end was finally revealed, I stared at my book in absolutely gobsmacked shock. I thought I had it all figured out but, oh boy, was I wrong. This book is delicious.
The House at Riverton
Something about the special mix of early 20th century English noblesse mixed with the genuine loveliness of Grace as narrator combines to make this book magical. I loved reading about Grace’s life as a maid, and I could not see how everything was going to turn out at the end; when I finally got there, I tore through the pages so fast I was nearly breathless. Not quite as masterfully executed as The Secret Keeper – it drags a little in places, and for a while there I thought that she was going to glaze over the main event entirely! – but still, this is a thrill ride.
The Forgotten Garden
Full disclosure: I read this book four years ago and don’t specifically remember all that much about it. All I remember is opening it thinking, “Hmm. I guess I will try it” and then re-emerging, bleary-eyed, a few days later.
The Distant Hours
I read this one recently and, while still a great book, it simply does not live up to the excellence of The Secret Keeper or The House at Riverton. The first half drags on like craaaazy, but the slow-ass pace is made up for in the second half.
Now: which one will you be reading first? 🙂