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Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Writer Wednesday: The Secret Keeper

Picture of the Number One Bestselling Historical Fiction Novel Cover of The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton on the Blog of Historical Fiction Author Megan Easley-Walsh, author of Flight Before Dawn, What Edward Heard, North Star Home, and Across the RiverHello!

On Writer Wednesday, I discuss another author and his or her book. Today's pick is The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton.

This was one of five books that I picked up in a charity sale for €1. That's for all 5! (Current exchange rate makes that $1.09.

This was the first book by Kate Morton that I read and I wasn't disappointed. It's multi-layered, with interwoven secrets, the kind of book that I love to read and to write. Like What Edward Heard, it's set in multiple time periods. Morton's book follows generations of a family, rather than a painting's journey. Like Flight Before Dawn, WWII has a significant purpose in the story and characters' allegiances and intentions can be mysterious to navigate.

The Secret Keeper largely revolves around three women: Laurel, Dorothy, and Vivien, and one man: Jimmy. Set primarily in the 1940s, 1960s, and 2011, Laurel digs into the secrets of her mother's, Dorothy's, past. In 1961, sixteen-year-old Laurel witnessed her mother commit a crime and she's trying to get to the bottom of it. Vivien and Jimmy are intimately tied to the reasons, but it will take cleverness and commitment to uncover everything that happened and why it did.

I write twists and turns and this is something that often is mentioned in reviews of my work. Because of that, I can often see what's coming and I especially love when a book still manages to surprise me. The Secret Keeper did that. I literally had to turn back the page and reread a portion to make sure I hadn't missed a page.

I like to sprinkle clues into my writing, hidden meanings that will be understood by the readers after they know what the truth of the story is. After I finished reading this, I found clues popping into my mind, like snapshots of hidden meaning.

As an interesting side note, I have a central character named Vivian in one of my upcoming books and another of my upcoming works deals with WWII London. I found myself thinking about my own stories while reading this, while being completely drawn into Morton's work. It's almost 600 pages, but it flew by. The editor in me wondered why we were being told the same information twice at times, but it all pieces together in a way that makes sense. It's also literary in style, something that I again enjoy reading and writing. For all of my novels, visit me at New Historical Fiction.

Have you read The Secret Keeper? What other literary historical mysteries have you enjoyed?

My best to you all,
Megan



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Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Writer Wednesday: Prisoners of Geography

Hello!

On Writer Wednesday, I discuss another author and his or her book that I've recently read. Today's pick is Prisoners of Geography: Ten Maps that tell you everything you need to know about the world by Tim Marshall.

History and politics are influenced by geography. That's basically the crux of geopolitics. In this brilliant book, several major countries and regions of the world are discussed within their own unique geographic location.

Having studied history-focused International Relations and having done research that centers on the intersection of history, International Relations, politics, geography, and geopolitics, I was especially eager to read this book. It jumped out from the shelf at the bookstore. I was not disappointed!

Topics such as what countries have green or blue navies (basically, are they guarding their coasts or going farther out to sea), examining why Russia is expansive in character, understanding how mountains have kept the peace between neighbors, and how rivers have hampered or encouraged settlement patterns are explored. Of special interest to me, given my research areas,was how lines on a map can be arbitrarily drawn and greatly influence history. I've studied that extensively.

Geography is both man-made, through cartography, as well as a product of natural features. In both cases, geography has shaped our history and continues to impact our present and will do so into the future. New technologies are changing the way that geography is dealt with, but geography still remains heavily influential in our world.

My best to you all,
Megan