Book Review: A Keeper by Graham Norton

A Keeper…

About the Book:

*** SHORTLISTED FOR THE NATIONAL BOOK AWARDS ***

From the bestselling author of HOLDING comes a masterly tale of secrets and ill-fated loves set on the coast of Ireland.

Dear Lonely Leinster Lady,
I’m not really sure how to begin . . .

The truth drifts out to sea, riding the waves out of sight. And then the tide turns.

Elizabeth Keane returns to Ireland after her mother’s death, intent only on wrapping up that dismal part of her life. There is nothing here for her; she wonders if there ever was. The house of her childhood is stuffed full of useless things, her mother’s presence already fading. And perhaps, had she not found the small stash of letters, the truth would never have come to light.

40 years earlier, a young woman stumbles from a remote stone house, the night quiet but for the tireless wind that circles her as she hurries further 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.

This compelling new novel confirms Graham Norton’s status as a fresh, literary voice, bringing his clear-eyed understanding of human nature and its darkest flaws.


My Thoughts:

What an incredible novel this was! Graham Norton has fast become my go-to author when I’m in need of a guaranteed good read or a reading reset. I love his ‘voice’ which just leaps right off the page. Lyrical and warm, full of wit and on point humour to balance out the more sombre moments. This story was all the more enjoyable for its unexpected plot turn. But first, how beautiful is this:

‘The rooms weren’t empty, they were filled with the absence of someone. The dead don’t vanish, they leave a negative of themselves stamped on the world.’

A Keeper is a dual narrative. We’re with Elizabeth in the present day and her mother, Patricia, forty years earlier. Elizabeth has returned to Ireland to finalise her mother’s affairs after passing away. In the wardrobe she finds a box with some letters that appear to be written by her father, a man whom she has never known, who she believes passed away when she was but an infant. That box, and an appointment with her mother’s solicitor, unravels everything Elizabeth believes to be true about herself and her family.

There were quite a few skeletons rattling around in this family’s closet, goodness! I enjoyed both eras of this story, journeying along with Elizabeth while she balanced uncovering her family history with a family drama in the present. And Patricia’s story! There was a creepy ‘Rebecca’ feel to Patricia’s sections, the isolated house perched alongside a ruined castle on the wild coast – Ireland, not Cornwall, but still – a strange man, a crazed old woman, and secrets galore! But in amongst this, great tragedy too. This was powerful storytelling, with depth of both character and plot, the threads joining both eras all strongly interwoven.

If you haven’t yet read a Graham Norton novel, do yourself a favour and hop to it. He’s a brilliant writer and each of his novels are so different from each other, yet instantly recognisable as his work, offering a reading experience that is both a comfort and good for your soul.

☕☕☕☕☕


Thanks is extended to Hachette Australia for providing me with a copy of A Keeper for review.


About the Author:

Graham Norton is one of the UK’s most treasured comedians and presenters. Born in Clondalkin, a suburb of Dublin, Norton’s first big TV appearance was as Father Noel Furlong on Channel 4’s Father Ted in the early 1990s. He then secured a prime-time slot on Channel 4 with his chat shows So Graham Norton and V Graham Norton.
Known for his quick wit Graham began hosting a variety of talent shows on BBC One from Strictly Dance Fever and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s How Do You Solve A Problem Like Maria? to The Eurovision Song Contest and BAFTAs. Graham was soon approached by the BBC to front his own self-titled chat show The Graham Norton Show in 2007.
Graham Norton has won 9 BAFTAs for Best Entertainment Performance, and Best Entertainment Programme. He presents The Graham Norton Show on BBC1, a show on BBC Radio 2 every Saturday, and is a judge on RuPaul’s Drag Race UK. Norton won the Special Recognition Award at the National Television Awards in 2017.


A Keeper
Published by Hodder & Stoughton
Released 2019

14 thoughts on “Book Review: A Keeper by Graham Norton

  1. *That* Graham Norton?!!
    I have to say that I don’t find him funny, but I can’t think of many comedians that are.
    (I think I’m stuck back in the days of 1960s British satire.)
    Anyway, it’s a surprise to discover that he’s a serious novelist too…

    Liked by 1 person

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