07 May BOOK REVIEW: A KEEPER BY GRAHAM NORTON
I read Graham Norton’s debut fiction novel, Holding, last year and couldn’t wait for his second, A Keeper, to hit the shelves. I just finished reading it.
In true Graham Norton style, A Keeper is set in Ireland. This novel follows Elizabeth Keane as she tries to uncover her mother’s secrets.
Elizabeth returns to her home town in Cork when her mother dies. Uncomfortable in the village where she grew up, she has to deal with her mother’s family and the house that she inherited. Elizabeth’s plans are to sort through the house, put it on the market and return to the States to her life as soon as possible. The universe had other plans. She discovers a box of letters in her mother’s cupboard and realises that they are from the father she never knew. Her mother never told her about him in great detail, just that he died when Elizabeth was a baby. The letters send her on a quest to find out why her mother was so secretive about her father.
A Keeper had me intrigued from start to finish. I couldn’t stop reading because I constantly had so many questions that I just needed answers to. Why did Patricia never tell Elizabeth about her father? What happened to Patricia when she seemingly ran away from her life for a couple of weeks? And why didn’t she ever talk about it?
Graham Norton writes the book from Elizabeth and her mother, Patricia’s perspectives. It takes us from present day with Elizabeth reading the letters, trying to find out as much as possible from family and other key people and following the clues in order to piece the story together, to the past when Patricia lived it.
Patricia decides it’s time to find a husband in her 30s and meets Edward Foley through posting a letter in the local paper. Edward’s letters woo her and she agrees to meet him. The first date was awkward and Patricia isn’t sure that he’s the man for her, but gives him another chance. This time she visits him at his farm for a couple of days where he lives with his mother. Things go terribly wrong, but Elizabeth is can’t get home.
I loved reading A Keeper and found myself feeling despair, sadness and hopelessness at times. Graham Norton is a descriptive writer and as with Holding, I could see the village clearly like I’ve been there before. I also had a great sense of the characters and felt like I knew them. I sincerely hope that Graham Norton keeps writing fiction.
A Keeper gets two thumbs up from me.