Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The House at Riverton - Kate Morton

Summary: 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 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.
(Summary from back of book, cover photo from amazon.com)

My Review: Grace Bradley's is currently living in a nursing home. She has began to realize that her life is coming to a close when one morning an unexpected visitor walks into her life. This visitor turns out to be a woman who is directing a film about Grace's past, the days when she was a maid working at the Riverton estate. Yet this is a story Grace is not anxious to relive as she has buried a secret there decades ago. Now she must make the choice to reveal it or let it die with her. And if she does reveal it to whom does she tell?

Kate Morton fills her novel with vivid descriptions, allowing the reader walk right into the 20's England downstairs servant hall, yet effortlessly march out to present day to spend time with an older, wiser Grace. There is no doubt that this author has done her research on early 20th century England and can write of it in an informative yet utterly captivating manner. To read this novel is to time travel. It's a little vacation that one doesn't wish to end.

Yet, like all good things, the story must come to a halt and a rather abrupt halt this was. I loved this story dearly. Yet the closing pages failed to quite meet my expectations. The author certainly gave an unpredictable and memorable close to her story, yet it felt slightly incomplete to me.

That being said this is still a book that I would highly, highly recommend. If you liked The Thirteenth Tale, you must not let this book pass you by. It you enjoyed A Countess Below Stairs, pick this novel up immediately. Or if you are just in need of a well written story with a bit of suspense and mystery, this is the book for you. It's a beautifully written novel that leaves me yearning for more of Morton's writings.

My Rating: 4.5 Stars

If I had to sum it up in one phrase: An unforgettable mystical journey that ended much too soon.

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