Secret Keeper Reading Group Questions
Oooh, I love reading groups! Books, friends, sometimes even cake and coffee (or wine,
so I'm told. . . ) Writing is a largely solitary pursuit, but storytelling is not. For me,
it's a joy each time a single reader picks up one of my books and brings its world and
characters back to life; the idea that they might then get together with friends and
talk the characters and storyline over is a complete and utter thrill.
So, here are some discussion points to get you and your group started . . .
1. Each of Kate Morton’s four novels are securely anchored in their strong sense of time and place. In The Secret Keeper, World War 2 is a rich and realistic environment -- close enough for memory but a long way from our 21st century lives -- which allows the author to show both the frailty and courage of human nature. Discuss.
2. The rusted-on loyalties of family members to each other are key in this novel. Do you think Dolly’s feelings of dis-ease about her own family contribute to her love of playing make-believe?
3. Laurel had never thought to ask her mother about her life before Dorothy met Stephen Nicolson. And it’s impossible for Dolly to imagine Lady Caldicott being young and beautiful wearing those glorious dresses now going musty in the dressing room. And Jimmy’s dad loves to tell his stories of the past. How is ageing portrayed in The Secret Keeper?
4. Many readers have commented on how extremely likeable Jimmy is - how has Kate Morton developed his character to make him so?
5. Do you think that The Secret Keeper’s characters live the lives they deserve? Were you satisfied and surprised at their various outcomes and their influences on each other?
6. Once you understood Dorothy’s reasons for committing that violent action at the end of chapter one, did you find any moral ambiguity in her behaviour? Did she really have a choice?
7. Everyone has their secrets. In The Secret Keeper, some more than others! Do you think Laurel is justified in upturning her mother’s carefully laid secrets? When is the keeping of a secret within a family justified?
If you'd like to download a PDF version of the Allen & Unwin Reading Group guide, you may do so here.