Reader reviews and comments on The House at Riverton, plus links to write your own review.

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The House at Riverton

A Novel

by Kate Morton

The House at Riverton
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  • First Published:
    Apr 2008, 480 pages
    Paperback:
    Mar 2009, 480 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Donna Chavez

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There are currently 21 reader reviews for The House at Riverton
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Melissa (05/07/08)

A story that will stay with you for a long time
The House at Riverton opens with 99 year old Grace Bradley agreeing to meet with a filmmaker who is making a movie about Riverton, the house that Grace was in service with during the First World War, and the suicide of a prominent poet during the summer of 1924. Feeling her life coming to a slow end, Grace begins recording her memories of Riverton for her grandson, so the true story of Robbie Hunter's suicide will finally be told.

It is easy to see why The House at Riverton was a number one bestseller in England. A compelling story rich in historical detail, from the end of the Victorian era, through the challenges of the Great War, to the beginning of the 1920's, when England's class system began to erode, you will be hard pressed to put this book down. Even when you do come to the shattering conclusion, Riverton and Grace Bradley will linger in your memory.
Jean (05/07/08)

The House at Riverton
This book painted a picture of a different time and place- with characters so vividly drawn that I had to remind myself this was fiction. The plot intensified as the story unfolded- I haven't read a book like this in years....romance, suspense, a different place and time in history.
Margo (05/07/08)

The House at Riverton
The House of Riverton is both historical novel and mystery. Just before the first World War Grace Bradley joins the staff at Riverton House at the age of 14. In many ways, this book reminded me of the Masterpiece Theater production, Upstairs, Downstairs. Perhaps this is why I initially found the characters somewhat one-dimensional and stereotypical. They were too interchangeable with the cast of the TV program. However, I quickly became caught up in the lives of Grace and Hannah, the family daughter for whom she is lady's maid and confidant.

The author is best at recreating the world of wartime, and the changing class system and life of the early 1900's. Since the title of the book is The House at Riverton, it is probably natural that Grace's life after she leaves service is not so well documented. It is a tribute to the author that I wanted to know more--a sequel perhaps?

The way some of the characters' lives are shown to be connected seemed a bit too tidy but that is a minor negative. On the whole I thoroughly enjoyed this well written book and would definitely recommend it.
Nanette (05/07/08)

Memories & Guilt
"While moths have torn holes in my recent memories, I find the distant past is clear," reflects Grace Bradley as she lives out her life in a nursing home. When she is 98, Grace and a film maker revisit Riverton House, where Grace worked as a servant for the Hartford family before and during the First World War. Author Kate Morton skillfully describes Edwardian aristocratic society, the loss of innocence inflicted by the war, and how secrets are secured and revealed. Flashbacks describe Grace's relationship with sisters Hannah and Emmeline. Readers will be intrigued by Grace's admission that even at the end of her eventful life, there is "some part of the house that wouldn't leave me."
Elizabeth (05/07/08)

Secrets from the past
Kate Morton shows her love for the traditional Gothic novel in the book about an old woman finally sharing her deepest secrets. Her beautiful writing captures the reader quickly, and the mysteries revealed as the novel progresses keep the narrative moving to its inevitable conclusion. I enjoyed the book very much and look forward to more by this author.
Kelli (05/07/08)

The House at Riverton
The House at Riverton was a nice read that allows you to fall back in time and relive another era. I think the author did a wonderful job of bringing each character to life at least in my imagination. Once I started reading the book I had a hard time putting it down.

This book will appeal to anyone who loves historical novels or is looking for an easy enjoyable read.
Sara (05/07/08)

What a great adventure!
What a great book! The author's approach kept you wanting more. I loved all of the twists & turns. I was thinking that how Grace was able to get her doctorate was going to be left unexplained, but then another surprise. Can't wait to read Ms. Morton's next book - maybe a sequel of the next generation?
Caryl (05/07/08)

The House at Riverton
I was interested in the societal changes in England basically between and post WW1. There are three main characters. Grace, who started to work at Riverton at 14 years of age (approx 1914) as a housemaid. At the time, society was deeply split by classes and societal rules. She narrates the story as an unopinionated housemaid of that period (or at least tries to; succeeding most of the time) Hannah, the older of two daughters, wishes she were a boy so she could discuss politics and business. Emmeline, the younger, loves dresses, parties and flirting. The novel shows how their characters change with the changing times. The book grows in suspense as it moves through the story. I could not put this book down right to the end. The only exception was the many, many characters which I finally made a list of so I could keep them straight.

Kate Morton, a debut novelist, has a great career ahead of her. It is rare to find a book that can keep the suspense moving to the very end. I am sure that book clubs would find this an interesting book to discuss with its many facets. There are books written that discuss societal changes and how the characters react to them, but this one is one of the best I have read. Highly recommended.
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