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Friday, June 26, 2009

House at Riverton - Kate Morton

I heard about Kate Morton's book, The House at Riverton, a while back and wanted to read it. When I found a copy at the library for sale shelf I had to grab it.

In a nut shell, I liked it. It reminded me of Atonement or Atwood's The Blind Assassin. So if you liked either of those books, well, it's similar themed. That said, Ian McEwan pulled off a great story in a whole lot less number of pages. At almost five hundred pages, it was a tad bit long.

Here's the plot...and I can't give too much away because there's a mystery, well, I don't want to spoil that for you.

Present day: A movie is being made about the legendary Riverton House and the one fateful night in 1924 when a young poet shot himself, witnessed only by the two young wealthy daughters of the manor, Emmeline and Hannah. Why did he do it? Was it over the sparkly celebutante Emmeline or over the beautiful but married elder sister?

Only one person alive knows the truth. Now an elderly lady, Grace was just a girl when she started working at the Riverton House. She was the same age as Hannah and grew up fascinated by the glamorous Riverton children. Grace finally reveals the truth behind a horrible incident that happened at the Riverton House.

It is a beautiful story. The way the story unfolds and flashes back and forth in time. I really felt swept back in time to when young men were going off to fight in the Great War and the loss everyone felt afterwards when a whole generation of young men were gone. And the roaring twenties that Emmeline thrived in. And Hannah. I liked Hannah. She reminded me of my sister, so strong-willed and beautiful.

At times I felt like Grace was just a tad bit obsessed with the Riverton House. But then again I think that was the point. And while the book was a bit too long, it did totally immerse me in the story and time-period. After a certain point, I knew what happened that night...and then there was still a twist!


  1. Thanks for the great review. This one sits on my shelf unread while her latest book: Forgotten Garden came in the mail today for review ...yikes.

  2. I have just picked up her second book - The Forgotten Garden. I really enjoyed the first.

  3. I read The Forgotten Garden first. I just completed reading The House at Riverton. Her stories are sure gloomy. But what a great writer.


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