Share 5 Kate Morton-Approved Novels That Explore Past and Present

5 Kate Morton-Approved Novels That Explore Past and Present

Kate Morton, a native Australian, holds degrees in dramatic art and English literature. Her latest novel is THE LAKE HOUSE. She lives with her family in Brisbane, Australia.

Editor’s Note: We’re huge fans of bestselling author Kate Morton’s novels—and in particular how her books weave together different periods of time—taking her readers from prewar manor houses that are filled with secrets back to present day—seamlessly. There’s a mystery at the heart of all her books, often one that hinges on past and present. We were curious about the kind of novels she reads in her free time. It’s no surprise that Kate Morton’s favorite books are steeped in the spellbinding secrets of the past and the exciting revelations of the future.

And now, in her own words and from her own bookshelf, we are honored to share five of Kate Morton’s favorite reads.


The Forgetting Time
by Sharon Guskin

The premise is irresistible: a single mum whose little boy suffers nightmares and keeps asking when he can go home. The only problem is, he’s already there. Determined to find out what’s happening, she teams up with a professor of psychology whose lifetime obsession with things unseen has alienated him from his colleagues. Their search leads them to the door of a woman whose son has been missing for eight years and, finally, answers seem close at hand. Part mystery and part meditation on a mother’s love for her child, this clever, heartfelt book kept me turning pages long into the night.

The Forgetting Time
Sharon Guskin

The premise is irresistible: a single mum whose little boy suffers nightmares and keeps asking when he can go home. The only problem is, he’s already there. Determined to find out what’s happening, she teams up with a professor of psychology whose lifetime obsession with things unseen has alienated him from his colleagues. Their search leads them to the door of a woman whose son has been missing for eight years and, finally, answers seem close at hand. Part mystery and part meditation on a mother’s love for her child, this clever, heartfelt book kept me turning pages long into the night.

MENTIONED IN:

5 Kate Morton-Approved Novels That Explore Past and Present

By Kate Morton | August 1, 2016

Close

In Falling Snow
by Mary-Rose MacColl

A beautifully written novel combining three of my favorite things: history, mystery, and memory. An elderly woman called Iris receives an invitation to the reunion of a group of nurses who operated a hospital in France during the First World War. We know immediately that something happened back then that makes Iris reluctant to attend, and soon learn that she’s been keeping a deep secret for a very long time. Luckily for us, the invitation’s arrival jolts Iris’s memory and takes us with her into the past where MacColl brings wartime France to vivid life.

In Falling Snow
Mary-Rose MacColl

A beautifully written novel combining three of my favorite things: history, mystery, and memory. An elderly woman called Iris receives an invitation to the reunion of a group of nurses who operated a hospital in France during the First World War. We know immediately that something happened back then that makes Iris reluctant to attend, and soon learn that she’s been keeping a deep secret for a very long time. Luckily for us, the invitation’s arrival jolts Iris’s memory and takes us with her into the past where MacColl brings wartime France to vivid life.

MENTIONED IN:

5 Kate Morton-Approved Novels That Explore Past and Present

By Kate Morton | August 1, 2016

Close

A Dark-Adapted Eye
by Ruth Rendell
Barbara Vine is the mistress of the psychological mystery. Her stories weave between the present and the past, and center on a secret that refuses to stay hidden. A DARK-ADAPTED EYE opens in the viewpoint of a girl called Faith who’s sitting in the kitchen of her parents’ house, waiting for something terrible to happen. We soon realize that Faith’s aunt Vera is to be put to death that morning for the murder of her beloved younger sister, Eden. The rest of the book, set in England during the Second World War, seeks to uncover why.
A Dark-Adapted Eye
Ruth Rendell

The first novel written under Rendell’s nom de plume, Barbara Vine. When Faith Severn’s aunt was hanged for murder, the reason behind her dark deed died with her. For thirty years, the family hid the truth—until a journalist prompts Faith to look back to the day when her aunt entered a child’s nursery with a knife.

MENTIONED IN:

15 Edgar-Winning Mystery and True Crime Books

By Sarah Jane Abbott | April 27, 2017

5 Kate Morton-Approved Novels That Explore Past and Present

By Kate Morton | August 1, 2016

Remembering Ruth Rendell: Britain’s Essential Crime Writer

By Caitlin Kleinschmidt | June 11, 2015

Close

Rebecca
by Daphne Du Maurier
“Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again . . .” It’s one of the best first lines ever, and Manderley, the house at the story’s heart, is a magnificent creation, a place of menace and foreboding (not least due to its keeper, Mrs. Danvers), based on the real life Cornish house, Menabilly, with which du Maurier was fascinated. I love books where the house is a character, especially when it keeps a deep, dark secret. For its brooding atmosphere and tangible sense of place, this suspenseful mystery about the haunting of the present by the past is one of my favorites.
Rebecca
Daphne Du Maurier

I watched the classic Hitchcock film of Daphne Du Maurier’s gothic masterpiece starring Laurence Olivier and Joan Fontaine for the first time in years the other night, and in loving it was reminded of how much I also loved the book. Is there a first line of a novel more evocative than “Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again”? Only Hitchcock could do justice to the moodiness and plot twists of Du Maurier’s genius work.

MENTIONED IN:

The 5 Best Books I’ve Read This Month

By Meagan Harris | November 8, 2017

10 Spooky Literary Locations to Spend Your Halloween

By Kerry Fiallo | October 31, 2017

Our 13 Favorite Ghost Stories—Just in Time for Halloween!

By Off the Shelf Staff | October 26, 2017

8 Books with Grand Houses as Characters

By Claire McMillan | July 24, 2017

17 of Our Favorite First Lines to Start 2017

By Kerry Fiallo | January 3, 2017

Second Wives, Detached Husbands, and a House Full of Secrets

By Kerry Fiallo | October 31, 2016

Close

The Go-Between
by L.P. Hartley

A man looks back on his life to remember the hot English summer of 1900 when, as a schoolboy, he went to stay with a friend in a grand country house and found himself acting as the go-between for a pair of star-crossed lovers. “The past is a foreign country: they do things differently there” is the famous opening line, and, as the novel progresses, this statement plays out with devastating consequences. Not a mystery so much as a tragedy, THE GO-BETWEEN is elegantly written and has a strong sense of place; most satisfying of all, there’s a perfect inevitability to the unfolding story and its ultimate conclusion.

The Go-Between
L.P. Hartley

A man looks back on his life to remember the hot English summer of 1900 when, as a schoolboy, he went to stay with a friend in a grand country house and found himself acting as the go-between for a pair of star-crossed lovers. “The past is a foreign country: they do things differently there” is the famous opening line, and, as the novel progresses, this statement plays out with devastating consequences. Not a mystery so much as a tragedy, THE GO-BETWEEN is elegantly written and has a strong sense of place; most satisfying of all, there’s a perfect inevitability to the unfolding story and its ultimate conclusion.

MENTIONED IN:

5 Kate Morton-Approved Novels That Explore Past and Present

By Kate Morton | August 1, 2016

Close

Thank you for joining our email list!

If you create and Off the Shelf account, you'll be able to save books to your personal bookshelf, and be eligible for free books and other good stuff.

Click here to create your free account.

You must be logged in to add books to your shelf.

Please log in or sign up now.