Blurb from Goodreads
When Elizabeth Keane returns to Ireland after her mother’s death, she’s focused only on saying goodbye to that dark and dismal part of her life. Her childhood home is packed solid with useless junk, her mother’s presence already fading. But within this mess, she discovers a small stash of letters—and ultimately, the truth.
Forty years earlier, a young woman stumbles from a remote stone house, the night quiet except for the constant wind that encircles her as she hurries deeper into the darkness away from the cliffs and the sea. She has no sense of where she is going, only that she must keep on.
With his second novel, ‘A Keeper’, BBC TV presenter and comedian Graham Norton really proves what a great storyteller he is.
I remember when I read his debut novel ‘Holding’ that I loved aspects of his writing but I came away from that book feeling that the atmosphere and narrative motifs used were a little lacklustre. Yet I believed he had the potential for so much more with his writing…
With this book he delivers on all that and more, and engages the reader in a wonderful mix of gothic and contemporary storytelling.
The novel alternates between now and then focusing on the story of Elizabeth in contemporary times and her mother Patricia in the past.
And both timelines weave together seamlessly to create an utterly compelling story that I gobbled up as quickly as I could read!
I was hooked by the storyline from the very beginning and this continued throughout the read as the overall pacing was perfectly on point! The characters from the now setting are all incredibly relatable with the majority exuding a very natural wit and humour that sparkled but never overtook the story.
Whereas, the characters in the past are all shrouded in this veil of mystery which added a brilliantly eerie quality to the book thus making this a perfect read for dark evenings.
‘A Keeper’ is a fabulous blend of darkness and pathos and Norton has proved himself to be a deft hand at writing about the sadness and loneliness of the human condition.
And yet he has managed to write about the heaviness of the secrets that can weigh the heart down and not make it feel overly dispirited or a drudgery. Because his writing is imbued with lightness and humour, and with the hopefulness of love with no excessive sentimentality.
All in all, this makes for a truly enjoyable and deeply emotive reading experience.
Four and a half stars
*An e-copy of this book was kindly provided to me by the publisher, Hodder and Stoughton, via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.*