September 2, 2009

The House at Riverton by Kate Morton

Recently I just haven't had time to read books for fun. I read for reviews, I read for swaps, I read for church, etc. I just don't read for fun. The House at Riverton I read for fun. And it was fun.

I was an English major in college and one of my favorite classes was contemporary literature. I think we read five or six different novels that semester including Atonement, Possession, Waterland, and Blackwater Lightship. There was something about every single one of those books that made me think or changed the way I looked at the book. I fell in love with contemporary literature and haven't gotten into a lot of it since I graduated.

Until I read Kate Morton's book. The book reminded me of those contemporary lit books I read three years ago and made me remember why I love reading so much.
The House at Riverton is narrated by the elderly Grace, who in her younger years was a maid at Riverton. She's been approached by a woman in her mid 20s who is making a film about the suicide that took place at Riverton so many years ago. Grace is taken back to a time long ago when she was a confidant for the young ladies in the house, Hannah and Emmeline, and when she witnesses something she'll never forget. Morton takes you into the lives of this family living in the time of World War I and dealing with the pains of war, loss, coerced marriages, and real love. She pieces things together slowly as you finally find out what happened on the night of Robbie's (a rich young poet) suicide. She keeps you guessing until the very end and even then I was surprised by the ending.

This is one I recommend for anyone. There's really nothing in it that I didn't like, and there was a lot that I loved. I loved how Morton developed Hannah's character through Grace's eyes and how Morton just kept stringing me along. I like to be led somewhere in the dark rather than being able to see exactly where I'm going. And Morton definitely kept me in the dark. So if you ever get the chance, pick up this one or her other book, The Forgotten Garden. 5 stars.


  1. I have this one, and MUST read it; wonderful review.

  2. Wonderful review, I have been meaning to read this book for ages, but somehow kept putting it off. Must push this further up my TBR pile.


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