Author: Kate Morton

Life’s Too Short – Transcription, The Clockmaker’s Daughter, 99 Percent Mine

January 31, 2019 Bonnie Book Reviews, Life's Too Short 15 Comments

I received this book free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Life’s Too Short – Transcription, The Clockmaker’s Daughter, 99 Percent MineTranscription by Kate Atkinson
on September 25, 2018
Pages: 352
Genres: Historical Fiction
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
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Also by this author: Life After Life

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In 1940, eighteen-year old Juliet Armstrong is reluctantly recruited into the world of espionage. Sent to an obscure department of MI5 tasked with monitoring the comings and goings of British Fascist sympathizers, she discovers the work to be by turns both tedious and terrifying. But after the war has ended, she presumes the events of those years have been relegated to the past forever. Ten years later, now a radio producer at the BBC, Juliet is unexpectedly confronted by figures from her past. A different war is being fought now, on a different battleground, but Juliet finds herself once more under threat. A bill of reckoning is due, and she finally begins to realize that there is no action without consequence. Transcription is a work of rare depth and texture, a bravura modern novel of extraordinary power, wit and empathy. It is a triumphant work of fiction from one of the best writers of our time.

DNF @ 5%

I tried reading this in print twice. I even tried listening on audio thinking I’d have better luck. I never got past 5% on either occasion. I could very well blame it on my mood reading tendencies or even my impatience, however, it’s simple: this book never managed to hook me. WWII, mid-century London, espionage… this really should’ve worked for me but I think I was anticipating much more action than what was being delivered and it ended up being a similar case like Sweet Tooth. Life After Life was stunning yet A God in Ruins was another DNF. Atkinson is an incredible writer but alas, I’m not sure her stories are the best fit for me.

I received this book free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Life’s Too Short – Transcription, The Clockmaker’s Daughter, 99 Percent MineThe Clockmaker's Daughter by Kate Morton
Published by Atria Books on October 9, 2018
Pages: 485
Genres: Historical Fiction
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
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Also by this author: The Secret Keeper, The House at Riverton

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My real name, no one remembers. The truth about that summer, no one else knows.

In the summer of 1862, a group of young artists led by the passionate and talented Edward Radcliffe descends upon Birchwood Manor on the banks of the Upper Thames. Their plan: to spend a secluded summer month in a haze of inspiration and creativity. But by the time their stay is over, one woman has been shot dead while another has disappeared; a priceless heirloom is missing; and Edward Radcliffe’s life is in ruins.

Over one hundred and fifty years later, Elodie Winslow, a young archivist in London, uncovers a leather satchel containing two seemingly unrelated items: a sepia photograph of an arresting-looking woman in Victorian clothing, and an artist’s sketchbook containing the drawing of a twin-gabled house on the bend of a river.

Why does Birchwood Manor feel so familiar to Elodie? And who is the beautiful woman in the photograph? Will she ever give up her secrets?

DNF @ 15%

My track record with Kate Morton isn’t great, The Secret Keeper-5 stars, The House at Riverton-3 stars, The Lake House-DNF, and now another DNF. I’m drawn to her stories because I’m a huge fan of the dual timelines, the English settings she favors, and this one apparently included a ghostie mystery! Unfortunately, I hadn’t even gotten to 10% before I was bored and confused because I think I had counted 5 different timelines and I was having to bust out my post-its to keep notes on who’s who. I’d still love to revisit Morton’s earlier works that everyone highly recommends (The Forgotten Garden and The Distant Hours) and hope that it comes close to the entertainment I found in The Secret Keeper.

I received this book free from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Life’s Too Short – Transcription, The Clockmaker’s Daughter, 99 Percent Mine99 Percent Mine: A Novel by Sally Thorne
Published by William Morrow Paperbacks on January 29, 2019
Pages: 368
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
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Also by this author: The Hating Game: A Novel

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Crush: a strong and often short-lived infatuation, particularly for someone beyond your reach…

Darcy Barrett has undertaken a global survey of men. She’s travelled the world, and can categorically say that no one measures up to Tom Valeska, whose only flaw is that Darcy’s twin brother Jamie saw him first and claimed him forever as his best friend. Despite Darcy’s best efforts, Tom’s off limits and loyal to her brother, 99%. That’s the problem with finding her dream man at age eight and peaking in her photography career at age twenty—ever since, she’s had to learn to settle for good enough.

When Darcy and Jamie inherit a tumble-down cottage from their grandmother, they’re left with strict instructions to bring it back to its former glory and sell the property. Darcy plans to be in an aisle seat halfway across the ocean as soon as the renovations start, but before she can cut and run, she finds a familiar face on her porch: house-flipper extraordinaire Tom’s arrived, he’s bearing power tools, and he’s single for the first time in almost a decade.

Suddenly Darcy’s considering sticking around to make sure her twin doesn’t ruin the cottage’s inherent magic with his penchant for grey and chrome. She’s definitely not staying because of her new business partner’s tight t-shirts, or that perfect face that's inspiring her to pick up her camera again. Soon sparks are flying—and it’s not the faulty wiring. It turns out one percent of Tom’s heart might not be enough for Darcy anymore. This time around, she’s switching things up. She’s going to make Tom Valeska 99 percent hers.

DNF @ 49%

I was one of the many that adored The Hating Game so admittedly, my expectations were through the roof. But unfortunately, this reads like her actual debut, and if this was the first Sally Thorne I picked up I’d be hard-pressed to pick up anything else of hers. It worked for me at first and I came close to finishing but clearly didn’t make it.

Darcy Barrett read like my kind of girl, at first. Badass bartender, take no shit from anyone, does anything and everything she wants… I don’t know, that’s some shit to aspire to. Enter the love interest that she’s apparently been in love with since she was eight. Yes, eight years old. Everything went downhill from there. She started acting excessively weird and was damn near intolerable and her obsession with the love interest is nothing more than just that and there was never any real rhyme or reason to it. Sure, she was attracted to him, she found him to be the most perfect human being, but there was never any real clarification why. Yes, I need at least some reasoning behind “the spark”. I’m not a romantic, you say? Yeah, so sue me. Between her ripping actual cabinets off the hinges mid-conversation (yes, they were in the middle of a remodel but still) and her actual purring when he touches her in a pretty platonic way, the weird behavior was just too much for me in the end.

“I know my eyes probably go black and crazy, but I press back into his palm and exhale a weird purr. His reaction is instant. I’m bumped away and my skin goes cold. He looks shocked, like I’ve just coughed up a furball.”

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Waiting on Wednesday – The Lake House by Kate Morton

April 15, 2015 Bonnie Adult, Waiting on Wednesday 5 Comments

Waiting on Wednesday – The Lake House by Kate MortonThe Lake House: A Novel by Kate Morton
on October 13th 2015
Pages: 512
Genres: Historical Fiction
Format: Hardcover
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Also by this author: The Secret Keeper, The House at Riverton, The Clockmaker's Daughter

From the New York Times and internationally bestselling author of The Secret Keeper and The Distant Hours, an intricately plotted, spellbinding new novel of heartstopping suspense and uncovered secrets.

From the New York Times and internationally bestselling author of The Secret Keeper and The Distant Hours, an intricately plotted, spellbinding new novel of heartstopping suspense and uncovered secrets.

Living on her family’s gorgeous lakeside estate in Cornwall, England, Alice Edevane is a bright, clever, inquisitive, innocent, and precociously talented fourteen-year-old who loves to write stories. But the mysteries she pens are no match for the one her family is about to endure…

One midsummer’s eve, after a beautiful party drawing hundreds of guests to the estate has ended, the Edevanes discover that their youngest son, Theo, has vanished without a trace. What follows is a tragedy that tears the family apart in ways they never imagined, leaving their estate as empty as their broken hearts.

Nearly sixty years later, having enjoyed a long, successful career as an author, Alice is now eighty years old and living in London. Theo’s case has never been solved, though Alice still harbors a suspicion as to the culprit. Miles away, Sadie Sparrow, a young detective in the London police force, is staying at her grandfather’s house in Cornwall. While out walking one day, she stumbles upon the old estate—now crumbling and covered with vines, clearly abandoned long ago. Her curiosity is sparked, setting off a series of events that will bring her and Alice together and reveal shocking truths about a past long gone...yet more present than ever.

A lush, atmospheric tale of intertwined destinies, this latest novel from a masterful storyteller is a spellbinding and satisfying read.

About Kate Morton

Kate Morton grew up in the mountains of southeast Queensland, Australia. She has degrees in Dramatic Art and English Literature and is currently a doctoral candidate at the University of Queensland. Kate lives with her husband and two young sons in Brisbane.

Kate Morton's books have been published in 31 countries. The House at Riverton was a Sunday Times #1 bestseller in the UK in 2007 and a New York Times bestseller in 2008. The Shifting Fog (now The House at Riverton) won General Fiction Book of the Year at the 2007 Australian Book Industry Awards. Was nominated for Most Popular Book at the British Book Awards in 2008. Her second book, The Forgotten Garden, was a #1 bestseller in Australia and a Sunday Times #1 bestseller in the UK in 2008.

I have yet to make it through all of Kate Morton’s books but there’s something so appealing about her stories that I can’t help but love. Dual timelines are some of my favorite types of stories and she does them oh so well.

What are you waiting on this Wednesday? Leave me a link to your post and I’ll be sure to stop by!

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Jill @ Breaking the Spine

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Book Review – The House at Riverton by Kate Morton

May 1, 2014 Bonnie Adult, Book Reviews, Read in 2014 3 Comments

Book Review – The House at Riverton by Kate MortonThe House at Riverton by Kate Morton
Published by Atria Books on April 22nd 2008
Pages: 480
Genres: Gothic, Historical Fiction, Mystery
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased
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Also by this author: The Secret Keeper, The Clockmaker's Daughter

three-half-stars

The House at Riverton is a sweeping debut novel set in England between the wars. It is the story of an aristocratic family, a house, a mysterious death and a vanishing way of life, told by a woman who witnessed it all and kept a secret for a lifetime.

Grace Bradley went to work at Riverton House as a servant when she was just a girl, before the First World War. For years her life was inextricably tied up with the Hartford family, most particularly the two daughters, Hannah and Emmeline.

In the summer of 1924, at a glittering society party held at the House, a young poet shot himself. The only witnesses were Hannah and Emmeline, and only they—and Grace—know the truth.

The novel opens in 1999 when Grace is ninety-eight years old, living out her last days in a nursing home. She is visited by a young director who is making a film bout the events of that summer in 1924. She takes Grace back to Riverton House and reawakens her memories. Told in flashback, this is the story of Grace's youth suring the last days of Edwardian aristocratic privilege shattered by war, of the vibrant 1920s and of the changes she witnessed as an entire way of life vanished forever.

The novel is full of secrets—some revealed, others hidden forever, reminiscent of the romantic suspense of Daphne du Maurier. It is also a meditation on memory, the devastation of war and a beautifully rendered window into a fascinating time in history.

Originally published to critical acclaim in Australia, already sold in ten countries and a #1 bestseller in England, The House at Riverton is a page-turning novel of suspense and passion, with characters—and an ending—the reader won't soon forget.

‘…history is a faithless teller whose cruel recourse to hindsight makes fools of its actors.’

The House of Riverton tells the tale of Grace Bradley who began working as a housemaid for the Hartford family at Riverton in 1915 during the first World War. Her life became inextricably linked to the house and its inhabitants; a link that would last a lifetime. Flash forward, Grace Bradley is 98 years old and living out her final days in a nursing home yet still holding tightly to the secrets she’s kept for many decades. Grace is approached by a young filmmaker who is making a movie about the tragic summer of 1924, when Robbie Hunter committed suicide, and nothing which followed was ever the same.

The story spans a vast time period beginning in 1915 when World War I is underway, to the 1920’s which completely redefined social and cultural customs and all the way to the late 90’s where we’re able to see just how much one tragic even can haunt someone forever. Kate Morton skillfully brings this time period and her characters to life. The impact of the war on the household was authentic feeling and especially well done. The one other novel of hers I’ve read, The Secret Keeper, is an absolute favorite of mine. Having read this one now I can definitely tell that this is her debut novel as it lacks the polished feel of The Secret Keeper. The House at Riverton is still a well-written and vibrant story with a cast of interesting characters although I found the mystery itself to be a bit disheveled.

The book summary makes it seem as if the story is centered around the mystery of a poet who committed suicide at Riverton in 1924, however, it took an endless amount of time to actually get to that point. The poet, Robbie Hunter, was a young man that Hannah and Emmeline met in 1915. He was a friend of their brother David and the two ended up going to war together. Their introduction is brief at the beginning of the book yet Robbie does not reappear again until close to the very end. The story had been following a steady path up until his reappearance and it not only threw a wrench in the story but made everything that followed feel contrived and artificial.

There is also an additional side mystery involving the narrator, Grace, and how her mother had worked at Riverton when she was younger. Her mother dies and takes her secrets with her and Grace slowly uncovers them throughout the novel. This, unfortunately, could have been interesting but felt ultimately unnecessary and not only detracted from the main mystery but extended the book needlessly. It was a separate mystery entirely from that of Robbie Hunter and I felt as if there was a similarity between Grace’s and Hannah’s secret that it would have been a better fit for the story as a whole.

The House of Riverton is an entertaining historical fiction debut that is chock-full of secrets waiting to be uncovered. It’s reminiscent of Atonement with a slight Downton Abbey feel and will be pleasing for fans of both.

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Early Review – The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton

September 23, 2012 Bonnie Adult, Book Reviews, Early Review, Read in 2012 2 Comments

I received this book free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Early Review – The Secret Keeper by Kate MortonThe Secret Keeper by Kate Morton
Published by Atria Books on October 9th 2012
Pages: 484
Genres: Historical Fiction, Mystery, Romance
Format: ARC
Source: the Publisher
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Also by this author: The House at Riverton, The Clockmaker's Daughter

five-stars

The new novel from the New York Times and internationally bestselling author of The Distant Hours is a spellbinding mix of mystery, thievery, murder, and enduring love.

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.

The Secret Keeper explores longings and dreams, the lengths people go to fulfill them, and the consequences they can have. It is a story of lovers, friends, dreamers, and schemers told—in Morton’s signature style—against a backdrop of events that changed the world.

‘It was the liquid silver flash Laurel would always remember. The way sunlight caught the metal blade, and the moment was briefly beautiful.’

In 1959, when Laurel was sixteen years old she watched as a stranger walked up her driveway, said hello to her mother, before her mother stabbed him to death. But the man wasn’t a stranger at all because before he died she heard him speak:

”Hello, Dorothy,” the man said. “It’s been a long time.”

When the police interviewed her mother, Laurel admits to seeing everything. Her mother didn’t do anything wrong, that the stranger had attacked her and she had no choice but to do what she had done. Nothing more was ever said about the man’s death and Laurel never asked but she the memories of that day never left her.

Fifty years later, Laurel’s mother has been hospitalized so she returns to her childhood home to be with her. Returning only revives the memories but this time she’s determined to finally find the answers to the mystery that has plagued her for almost her entire life.

The story flashes back and forth between 1940 and present day. As Laurel begins uncovering answers to her mother’s past, the truth begins to unfold. There is so much that can be said but shouldn’t for fear of ruining the story. Definitely one that truly needs to be experienced to be fully appreciated. Suffice it to say, it was an incredible mystery with intriguing and amazingly well-developed characters; a definite treat.

The immensity of the revelation at the end truly took my breath away. That moment when all is revealed and all the unanswered questions are finally given resolution and you finally see it all in its finality? Oh, the feelings! This book made me feel so much and it was intense, amazing, bittersweet and so poignant. Reading something with such intricate detailing, intersecting storylines that blended beautifully, and an ending I never could have possibly imagined… this was a real gem. I won’t be forgetting this story for a long time to come.

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