Rating: 3 / 5
Graham Norton’s A Keeper is a haunting domestic mystery about a woman looking for answers to her recently deceased mother’s mysterious life in Ireland.
Thank you to Atria Books for the advanced copy of this book!
Elizabeth begrudgingly returns to her small Irish hometown after her mother’s death, where – as she’s searching for sentimental items to keep from her childhood home – she comes across handwritten letters from whom appears to be a lover. Elizabeth never knew her father – could these letters be the beginning of uncovering the truth of her mother’s life before she came along?
Told in alternating points of view – Elizabeth in present day, and her mother 40 years prior – A Keeper slowly but surely uncovers the dark answers about Elizabeth’s family.
Please take caution while reading A Keeper if any of the following topics may trigger you:
- Kidnapping / abduction
- Death / dying
- Pregnancy / childbirth
- Mental illness
Oftentimes when we speak about books that have mysterious aspects or twists in the plot, we refer to them as thrillers, which may or may not encompass a mystery sub-genre. In this case, I would not describe A Keeper as a thriller – it is exclusively a mystery novel. This isn’t a downside, but I did want to make that clear to you from the start.
A Keeper does many things right – the story is well-paced and engaging throughout, and a ton of weird shit happens that continuously keep you interested. The alternating points of view are a huge asset to this novel, giving the reader juicy details in one period of time, and confirming suspicions in the next.
While I enjoyed reading A Keeper at all times, it surely did not blow me away. The story is interesting and, honestly, pretty messed up, but I wasn’t fully invested in any of the characters. Their development took a back seat to the plot, which I did not find exciting enough to excuse the shallow characters. In that same vain, I didn’t find the twists or answers to be groundbreaking. Once you figure out what’s initially going on with Katherine’s mother, not a whole lot more is revealed.
The story has some depth aside from the main mystery plot line that I found quite interesting, if not pretty unnecessary. Elizabeth’s recently ex husband has come out as gay and her son is making some seriously bad life decisions. I definitely enjoyed these bits of additional drama and the window into Elizabeth’s life at home in the states, but didn’t fully see how they connected to the main plot other than allowing for a nicer ending.
All in all, I found A Keeper to be an enjoyable, quick read with an interesting plot, but with nothing groundbreaking to elevate it. If you’re a fan of mystery and domestic drama, I think it would be worth your time to give this a try!
Thank you for taking the time to read my thoughts on A Keeper. I’d love to hear your thoughts on the novel in the comments or at my Instagram, @bookmarkedbya!