It begins as a fairly standard but well written family mystery novel. A young girl, Laurel, is sitting reading in a tree house on a warm summers day in 1961. She witnesses something that afternoon which changes her life for ever. The act that she sees is a lot more 'full on' than is usual for the genre and this was the first sign that this book was going to be different.
Action switches between 2011, the 60's and wartime London as the adult Laurel tries to uncover what actually happened that afternoon and why. She realises that something happened to her mother, Dorothy during the war which triggered the event she witnessed as a young girl. I must admit, I very nearly stopped reading the book because I found the character of Dorothy incredibly irritating, manipulative and self absorbed but I continued reading & I'm so glad I did. The twist at the end of the book is shocking and completely unexpected and yet emotionally satisfying. It subverts the conventions of the genre in a rather good way.
The Secret Keeper is a very rich, multi layered book - very much my favourite kind of read. A definite recommendation from me.