Favourite writing style: Kate Morton

Since I’m tired of writing only reviews and wrap-ups, I’ve decided to start a series of posts where I’ll be talking about my favourite authors regarding their styles of writing. Besides the story and the plot line, writing style is something I highly value in a book and I tend to prefer more lyrical styles of writing though that is not always the case.

So the first name that popped into my head when I started thinking about this post, was Kate Morton. She writes historical fiction and her books always contain two or even three stories set in different eras and the narrative skips from one time period to the other. Five of books of hers have been published and they are (in cronological order of publication) The House at Riverton, The Forgotten Garden, The Distant Hours, The Secret Keeper and The Lake House.

She did as she felt, and she felt a great deal.

Kate Morton, The Forgotten Garden

If I had to pick my favourite I’d go with The Forgotten Garden simply because it was the first book of hers that truly impressed me and left me literally breathless. It’s one of those books that has stayed with me ever since I finished reading it. I was equally impressed by The Distant Hours and The Secret Keeper, they were both equisite.

So why do I adore Kate Morton and her writing? Because she picks up words and strings them on a magical line and they are filled with thoughts and feelings. When I was reading The Forgotten Garden these lines stuck out immediately and I had to write them down because it felt like they were written for me.

Cassandra always hid when she read, though she never quite knew why. It was as if she couldn’t shake the guilty suspicion that she was being lazy, that surrendering herself so completely to something so enjoyable must surely be wrong. But surrender she did. Let herself drop through the rabbit hole and into a tale of magic and mystery …

Kate Morton, The Forgotten Garden

Her books read not like a poem but it’s somewhere near that. She has a way with words, she doesn’t just describe what’s in front of you, she also creates the atmosphere of every single thing that appears in the book. Each page oozes honey and though her stories are nowhere near fantasy, her writing style reminds me of fairy tales.

What I also love about Morton’s writing is her ability to portray complex characters, most of whom are female. She can tell so much about a person, their deepest desires, fearful anxieties, unwanted thoughts. The relationships between these characters are at the centre of the story and I think this is marvelous because we do want to know more about other people and what goes on in their heads. We don’t want to know just what happens to them but also what that makes them feel.

Reading her books transports me to a world where even the darkest things in life are manageable and she does write about pain a lot. But still she can create such a version of the world that it sweeps you off your feet and before you know it, you’re breathing in her words and listening to what they’re saying. Such is the extent of her story telling powers. So I really do urge you to pick up her books and see for yourselves just how amazing she is. (By the way her plot twists are totally unexpected and the word building enthralling. You won’t be bored for even a second.)

I don’t have many friends, not the living, breathing sort at any rate. And I don’t mean that in a sad and lonely way; I’m just not the type of person who accumulates friends or enjoys crowds. I’m good with words, but not spoken kind; I’ve often thought what a marvelous thing it would be if I could only conduct relationships on paper. And I suppose, in a sense, that’s what I do, for I’ve hundreds of the other sort, the friends contained within bindings, pages after glorious pages of ink, stories that unfold the same way every time but never lose their joy, that take me by the hand and lead me through doorways into worlds of great terror and rapturous delight. Exciting, worthy, reliable companions – full of wise counsel, some of them – but sadly ill-equipped to offer the use of a spare bedroom for a month or two.

Kate Morton, The Distant Hours

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Best books of 2017

I can’t believe it’s 2018 already! My birthday is slowly approaching and I’m freaking out because I don’t want to be old and gray. I’m exaggerating, I know, but still. There’s just something about birthdays that I strongly dislike. Anyway, I decide to talk about the books I read last year and I picked my top five favourites and here is the list:

  • Fire and Hemlock by Diana Wynne Jones
  • The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton
  • The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater
  • Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor
  • The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater

I just noticed that all these books were written by female authors so hurray for them! Maggie Stiefvater is obviously the winner since the Raven Cycle consists of four books (and they are all amazing). The thing is I really didn’t expect to like the books as much as I did. I thought it would be entertaining but sort of easy going but then I was blown away with the constant plot twists and the beautiful writing from different POV’s. The story grabbed me with both hands and pulled me in, it was so amazing!

Over the past few years I got tired of YA literature because a lot of it is so similar and I almost skipped this series but since I really liked the Shiver trilogy I decided to give it a go.  What really surprised me was the fact that the last book was the best. In so many series the last book was such a disappointment (Delirium, Twilight, Vampire Academy) but this book, THIS BOOK made me scream and cry (usually at the same time) and sigh and just go OMG every couple of pages. It was a great ending of a fantastic journey. It took me a whole month to finish the series and thinking back that was probably wise because if I read all the books in like two weeks I’d probably end up lying on the floor of my bedroom refusing to leave and re-enter the real world.

For Christmas my sister bought me The Scorpio Races and I really liked that book as well. The focus was mainly on the atmosphere that the author created and she did a really good job at it because I felt like I was right there on Thisby riding a water horse. I also took my time with this book (I guess it’s a Maggie Stiefvater thing) and I marvelled at each and every sentence. The characters were so well-written, I loved the slow romance that developed between Sean and Puck and I wished Finn was my little brother. The island life was portrayed very realistically and I loved the blending of magic and reality, I think that Stiefvater is a true master of that because I’ve seen it in the Raven Cycle as well.

The next favourite of the year was Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor. Unlike Maggie Stiefvater, Laini Taylor’s writing is more epic fantasy and I adore her for that because her books read as complex fairytales and they are SO GOOD. I adored Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy and I was worried that I wouldn’t like this book as much but I was wrong. The story was beautiful and complex (the final plot twist blew my mind away, I literally started to pull at my hair), the ending broke my heart (I kept shaking my head) and the writing was again so beautiful that at times I just couldn’t continue with the story because I was rereading the sentences that I liked best. The second part is called Muse of Nightmares and I can’t wait for the release day, I’ll probably pre-order the book as soon as possible.

The last fantasy favourite was Fire and Hemlock by Diana Wynne Jones. I actually started reading this book like a year ago but gave up after the first few pages and then I picked it up again in spring and I was so glad that I did because the story kept surprising me and it never got boring. Jones is one of my favourite authors (I also wrote a blog post about her, you can read it here) and Fire and Hemlock is one of her best works. Howl’s Moving Castle was great but so was this book, perhaps even better, it’s really hard to say! The main protagonists Polly and Tom were such good friends and their relationship slowly grew to become something more. They invented a story together and that appealed to my writer side and when Tom started to sent Polly stacks of books via mail I got so jealous I started complaining about it during class when the professor wasn’t looking at me. I never knew what the story would bring and that is hard to do because I’ve read a lot of fantasy books and they tend to repeat. But then again I never know what to expect with Diana Wynne Jones – she is full of surprises.

Now it’s time to move from fantasy novels to history literature because the last favourite book of the year is The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton. She is also one of my favourite authors because her stories are always so well planned, complex and intriguing, but what I actually love the best is her writing style. It’s very poetic and the way she paints the world is very special – seen through her eyes it gets an almost magical feeling about it. Even the bad things seem manageable and everything has its own purpose. Her books always consist of two or three stories and the focus then jumps from one to the next but this shift is so smooth that you just glide through the story to the end. The Secret Keeper is one of her best works because the plot twist is OUT OF THIS WORLD. I actually sort of guessed it because my friend told me it’s a huge one and so I payed attention to all the little hints in the book and formed several possible theories – one of them turned out to be the one.

So these are the best books that I read last year. The initial list was way longer but I decided to limit it because then this post would never end (it’s still quite long). In case I inspired you to read one of them, I hope you’ll like them half as much as I did.