While visiting a friend last week, I tagged along with her to book club. (Am I the type of person who visits public libraries and book clubs on vacation? Yes, I am.) Pretty early on, I found myself in my favorite of all conversations: trading book recommendations with other avid readers. I was a little surprised that none of the six other women had read anything by Kate Morton. The ensuing discussion has me reflecting back on what I love about Kate Morton. Her books follow more or less the same pattern, but that doesn’t keep each story from being completely engrossing in its own right. I read The Lake House a few months ago, and it was the first time a book had kept me up into the wee hours of morning in a long time.
Kate Morton’s books tell two stories at once. Generally, the female protagonist solves an old mystery while dealing with some loosely related situation in her own life. As the protagonist digs up details about the past, we get to see the situation in real time (so to speak) as the narration bounces back and forth between the past and present day. The Lake House follows a London detective on administrative leave as she tries to figure out what happened to a toddler who disappeared decades earlier. Since having kids of my own, my ability to cope with books about children in danger has plummeted to nonexistent. At one point, I was having such a hard time separating the narrative from thoughts of my own toddler that I had to sit myself down and evaluate whether or not I wanted to finish the book. (I did.) What ultimately kept me reading was my trust in Kate Morton. I was not disappointed. I changed my prediction at least four times, which is part of what kept me up until almost dawn finishing the story. The ending was a bit tidy, but after 400 suspenseful pages, I didn’t mind the neatness one bit. I especially enjoyed the peak into the English countryside between the WWI and WWII, which is a time period that I find fascinating. Somehow I hadn’t known that Kate Morton is an Australian author, which makes complete sense actually since many of my favorite authors are.
Am I missing any other Australian authors? Should I just move to Sydney and make the search even easier?