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Topic: September RAL - the Secret

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Subject: September RAL - the Secret
Date Posted: 9/1/2013 8:06 PM ET
Member Since: 12/10/2005
Posts: 2,851
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Discussion of The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton:

By the end, the secret is fully revealed. With this knowledge, do you think Dorothys reasons for committing murder were justified?

Date Posted: 9/23/2013 2:42 PM ET
Member Since: 6/5/2007
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I finished the book yesterday, I struggled throughout not really enjoying Dorothy's character (although I did like Laurel a lot), especially in regards to her friendship with Vivien.  Once the secret was revealed (which I was surprised by, I'd figured out that Henry was abusive, but not that Dorothy was actually Vivien) it made a lot more sense. 

And, yes, clearly, the murder was self-defense.

Date Posted: 9/24/2013 8:00 AM ET
Member Since: 8/17/2009
Posts: 929
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The book really picked up at the end, beginning with the Vivien section.  I thought Vivien's childhood story was very well written.  I began to guess at the Dorothy's secret although I wasn't sure how things would play out.  Kate Morton does a great job keeping the backgrounds of the two women similar enough to make the switched identity quite plausible.  "Dorothy" was entirely justified in killing Henry.  The ending was very gratifying - just a shame that getting there was rather laborious.


 



Last Edited on: 9/24/13 9:18 AM ET - Total times edited: 2
Date Posted: 9/24/2013 11:30 AM ET
Member Since: 11/11/2005
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I just finished listening to this book last night (that was one seriously long audiobook), and I pretty much agree with all of the comments already made above.  Yes, the killing was justified - and least in Dorothy/Vivien's head - as self-defense.   However, having said that, I don't believe that the author did a very good job of making us believe that Henry - and his "boys" - would find Vivien or Dorothy and make them pay eventually no matter how far they fled.   I began to suspect that Henry was abusive about 2/3 of the way through the book, but we never heard about his "boys" until the end of the book.  Do I believe that Vivien was very afraid of Henry and that a situation like that could be true?  Absolutely.  However, I don't think that the author set that up well. 

Now before we knew that Dorothy was really Vivien, I was struggling a little to find a valid reason for her (Dorothy) to kill Henry. After it was revealed that Henry sent some of his boys after Jimmy - and that Vivien believed Jimmy to be dead and had also told Dorothy that, well then I thought maybe Dorothy had killed Henry because he killed Jimmy.  Isn't that what Laurel thought initially also?  But I struggled with that one because Dorothy/Vivien didn't even hesitate to stab that knife into Henry.  For her it was a self-preservation instinct and she didn't even have to think about it.   I don't think that it if was really Dorothy/Dolly that she would have had the same fear of Henry that Vivien did.

Date Posted: 9/24/2013 11:50 AM ET
Member Since: 8/17/2009
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Your comments about Henry's "boys" got me thinking, Lynne.  Henry was set up as a well-respected author, a "minister" in the government, a philanderer, and a wife abuser, but not really as a person with criminal or pseudo-criminal leanings.  You're right - having a gang of thugs to murder people at his order really stretched believability.  And apparently Vivien knew about these "boys" enough to fear them.

And I agree with your other comments about Dorothy.  I don't think she would have had the visceral reaction upon seeing Henry that Vivien seemed to have when she stabbed him.  Good points!

 

 


 



Last Edited on: 9/24/13 2:58 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 9/24/2013 2:31 PM ET
Member Since: 12/10/2005
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Lynne sums it up for me nicely. smiley I really struggled with this book, including now trying to finish it for the second time. I'm about ready to listen to the ending again.

But until the end, like Lynne, I really struggled with the way "Dorothy" just up and stabbed Henry to death with seemingly no provocation except her possible knowledge of the abuse. Her reaction seems obvious at the end, but until then, it's kinda puzzling.

Date Posted: 9/24/2013 3:38 PM ET
Member Since: 6/5/2007
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One thing I was wondering is did you think that Henry had actually been the picnic stalker, or since he had reason to be approaching Vivien/Dorothy do you think that it was just the convenient excuse used?

Date Posted: 9/24/2013 9:35 PM ET
Member Since: 12/10/2005
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Wow. What a memeory. I had almost forgotten about the picnic stalker. I think it was a convenient excuse. In fact, the whole police investigation was a bit lame. But it could have been the times and D/V wasnt your typical murderer.

What do you think?

Date Posted: 9/24/2013 10:18 PM ET
Member Since: 11/11/2005
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The picnic stalker was at the beginning of the book, and my memory of the beginning is a wee bit fuzzy ....

Yes, it seemed like a convenient excuse.  However, didn't the picnic stalker disappear right after Henry was killed?

Date Posted: 9/25/2013 7:17 AM ET
Member Since: 8/17/2009
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Mmm - not sure but I think it was probably a convenient excuse.  And I agree - rather lame police investigation.  I wonder how much Laurel's father really knew, too.  It was interesting that at the beginning we were led to believe that Laurel was the secret keeper and the secret was the murder. 
 

Date Posted: 9/25/2013 11:24 AM ET
Member Since: 12/10/2005
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 It was interesting that at the beginning we were led to believe that Laurel was the secret keeper and the secret was the murder. 

Yeah. LOL. I feel mislead. I think that's what ya call one heck of a red herring!

Date Posted: 9/25/2013 2:04 PM ET
Member Since: 6/5/2007
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I really kind of struggled with the whole "picnic stalker" idea - it seemed to me odd that it was accepted in Henry's biographies that he was the stalker, but yet it was never mentioned that he died due to violence (that I recall, anyway). It never quite sat right with me, not that I believed him to be non-violent, but just an odd story.

I also agree that the entire police investigation was shoddy.

Date Posted: 9/25/2013 2:14 PM ET
Member Since: 8/17/2009
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Although it makes sense that Henry might have been "stalking" picnics and outings in the area after having seen Dorothy/Vivien's picture in the newspaper for the purpose of pinpointing her exact whereabouts.

Date Posted: 9/25/2013 5:30 PM ET
Member Since: 6/5/2007
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Although it makes sense that Henry might have been "stalking" picnics and outings in the area after having seen Dorothy/Vivien's picture in the newspaper for the purpose of pinpointing her exact whereabouts.

Oh, thanks! I'd forgotten about the photo in the paper.