Review: A Keeper by Graham Norton

Audiobook narrated by Graham Norton / Running time: 7 hours 45 mins / Published by Hodder & Stoughton October 2018

Opening sentence: “He longed for silence, the roar of the wind churned with the rasping rhythm of the waves and filled his head.”

I was sad when this book was over! Listening to it on audiobook meant that I had the familiar, friendly voice of Graham Norton to keep me company on my walks. I genuinely loved popping on my headphones and hearing the latest installment of the story. A Keeper is Graham’s second novel and like his debut, Holding, (which I also very much enjoyed and reviewed last year) it is set in a small Irish village and focuses on the hidden secrets of the residents. Before you think A Keeper is just another celebrity-jumping-on-the-write-a-book-bandwagon, I am here to assure you that that is not the case. I am once again thoroughly charmed by Graham’s storytelling ability. A Keeper was just a delight to read (listen to.)

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So what’s it about? Well, Elizabeth Keane is not a fan of the small-town mentality of everyone knowing her business, so she moved from the small village of Buncarragh, Cork to the far more anonymous New York, where she now lives with her 17-year-old son Zack. When Elizabeth’s mother, Patricia, dies, Elizabeth returns to her childhood home in Buncarragh to sort through her mother’s things. Doing this, she finds a stack of lonely hearts letters, from her father to her mother. Having never known her father, she is intrigued, and quickly discovers that the version of events her mother told her about her past and her father might not have actually been true…

This is the premise that then takes us into a dual timeline that flips between Elizabeth uncovering secrets in the present day and Patricia’s story from the past being told. We are discovering things a tiny step ahead of Elizabeth, which keeps the pace quick and exciting. A Keeper has a far, far more sinister edge than I was expecting, less cosy Sunday night drama and more unexpected Saturday night drama: Think imprisonment, drugging, lies and deceit. Yes, really! This darker theme was a brilliant addition to the story and made it a truly enticing read. I’m hoping this isn’t the last novel Graham writes, as I am a fan of his style and storytelling and would happily read more!

Rating: 4/5

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