Sunday, September 20, 2009

89. The House at Riverton by Kate Morton

"The House at Riverton is a true historical novel, in all senses of the term. Told from the first person perspective of 98 year old Grace, the narrative alternates between present and past, the story flowing seamlessly from the recesses of her memory and more than 50 years of painful reflection. Riverton has many themes: the myriad damages wrought by war, the relentlessly impersonal evolution of society, the slippery intricacies of relationships, the crucial importance of self-actualization. It is mystery in reverse: from many clues, from the atmosphere of secrecy and suspense, we know with absolute certainty that something dreadful happens, but the exact nature of the tragedy becomes fully apparent only on the final page. Ms Morton's characters, Grace, the sisters, the men in their lives, the servants, are genuine and vibrant, real people that the reader comes to know, love, hate, and care about in one way or another. By the conclusion of this finely crafted novel, we know Grace the best, and as she faces her own death, we understand that she has learned important lessons from the past, has truly learned to live her own life on her own terms."  Reviewed on Amazon by Linda "Katknit"

Again I copied another reader's review because she described this book so well.  At first, I had a hard time getting into the story because of the transitions from past to present and back again; but it really worked well when you considered the age of the woman telling the story.  It was quite fascinating to read how invisible servants were in that era.  Even though I didn't really care for most of the characters in the book, even Grace as a servant is pretty bland; when I finished I said to myself, "That was really good."  The author does write beautifully, drawing you into the time and place and into the conflicted lives of both Grace and Hannah.  I look forward to reading more books by Morton.  Hopefully, they are not all 600 pages long.

Rating:  4.25


  1. Excellent review. I'm not sure why this one sits on my shelf unread; everyone has enjoyed it. Thanks 4 the post.

  2. I just finished reading her newest book, The Forgotten Garden, and really enjoyed it. History, fairy tales, mystery, a bit of gothic atmosphere - all added up to make quite the page-turner of a novel (all 550+ pages!). I'd seen her other book in the library and now I definitely want to read it, too.

  3. I have yet to read this book, although I have 2 copies of it. I liked The Forgotten Garden so much that I bought a copy of The House at Riverton for me and one for my oldest daughter.

    Thanks for the review. I'm definitely going to read this book soon!