Saturday, January 22, 2011

The House at Riverton by Kate Morton

"Grace Bradley was just a girl when she began working as a servant at Riverton House. For years, her life was inextricably tied up with the glamorous and eccentric Hartford family's daughters, Hannah and Emmeline. Then, at a glittering society party in the summer of 1924, a young poet shot himself. The only witnesses were Hannah and Emmeline, and only they--and Grace--knew the dark truth.

Many years later, when Grace is living out her last days in a nursing home, she receives a visit from a young director who is making a film about the events of that summer. The director takes Grace back to Riverton House and reawakens her memories of the last days of Edwardian aristocratic privilege, of the vibrant twenties and of a stunning secret that Grace kept all her life."

(from the publisher)

my thoughts:

Another amazing tale of suspense, passion, and devastating family secrets from Kate Morton! I adored her most recent gothic mystery, The Distant Hours, and I couldn't wait to read more from this very talented author. The House at Riverton was another page-turner with layer upon layer of mysteries and secrets revealed until the stunning conclusion. The fact that the story is narrated by ninety-eight-year-old Grace, a former loyal servant at Riverton, as she is spending her final days in a nursing home makes this story exceptionally poignant.

She begins to recount her life experiences as a servant at the house when a movie director aproaches her to interview her for a film that is being produced about an infamous and tragic house party during the summer of was supposed to be a glittering society party at Riverton, with a snazzy jazz band and flowing champagne and lovers and dancers floating across the grounds watching the lovely fireworks display....until a gun shot rang out and a well-known poet was dead.

The House at Riverton, much like Upstairs Downstairs or Downton Abbey, is really multiple stories....the life and relationships of the privileged, aristocratic Hartford family, and the interactions and relationships of the dutiful, loyal servants. Marriages of convenience, heirs and inheritance, love affairs,social class, war....Morton masterfully weaves the threads of these stories, keeping the reader in suspense as the aged and fading Grace holds on to the ghosts of her memories and at long last, reveals her final secrets before she takes her last breath.

Stunning! Highly Recommended!

5/5 stars

Title: The House at Riverton (originally published in Australia as The Shifting Fog)
Author: Kate Morton
Simon and Schuster
473 pages
genre: gothic mystery


Misfit said...

I don't know why I haven't got around to reading any of her books. Keep getting distracted by other books. Must correct that.

Melissa @ Confessions of an Avid Reader said...

Great review, Joanne! You do realize you now have to read The Forgotten Garden real soon? It's my favourite of Morton's books.

Julie at Outlandish Dreaming said...

Loved this too, though I listened to it on audio. Grace was so endearing, I loved her and also loved her HEA as well years later!

Joanne said...

Misfit - Hope you make room for her books; I find them impossible to put down.

Avid Reader -- Wow! Your I'm really anxious to get to it.

Julie -- Grace's story was so amazing! The self-sacrificing that house servants willingly offered for the family was so touching. I loved Alfred and cheered when the picture was placed by her bedside!

Anonymous said...

Oh, man. I'm a little bit of the way through Distant Hours and I'm loving it! I didn't realize she had other books in a similar vein. Nice!

Staci said...

Great review...I'm pretty excited as I have 2 of her books waiting for me on my shelves!!!

Joanne said...

iwriteinbooks -- If you love Distant Hours, The House at Riverton is right up your alley! Enjoy!

Staci - I still have The Forgotten Garden to read. I'll be interested to hear your thoughts when you read them. :)

Unknown said...

Joanne, thank you for this fantastic review & the rec! I am definitely going to be checking this book out soon!

Joanne said...

Ruth - I think you will enjoy this since you are such a fan of Downtown Abbey! Lots of similarities.

Favorite Period Dramas

Mount TBR

Joanne's to-read book montage

On a Highland Shore
A Light on the Veranda
The Queen's Vow: A Novel Of Isabella Of Castile
The Edwardians
Maisie Dobbs
Howards End
Lady's Maid
Instruments Of Darkness
When Maidens Mourn
Where Shadows Dance
What Remains of Heaven
Where Serpents Sleep
Why Mermaids Sing
When Gods Die
Before Ever After
The Sugar Queen
Garden Spells
After the Night

Joanne's favorite books »