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The House at Riverton

A Novel

by Kate Morton

The House at Riverton
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • 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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Pam (05/07/08)

The House at Riverton
Told in flashback by Grace, a loyal family servant, this debut novel tells the story of the Hartford family and Riverton, their English country estate, during the first quarter of the 20th century. This book has it all – the charmed but tragic lives of the landed gentry, the world of their faithful servants, passionate and doomed love affairs, the impact of World War I on English society, changes in the role of women in society - to name just a few. The story was briskly paced and kept me in suspense until the end, when Grace’s secret is finally revealed. The characters were believable and sympathetic in that British stiff upper-lip sort of way. If you like books like Rebecca, Atonement and Water for Elephants, as I do, this book is highly recommended.
Elsbeth (05/07/08)

A Captivating Book
The House At Riverton is a fabulous novel!

The author skillfully brings her readers into the house, upstairs with the aristocratic family and downstairs with the household servant staff.

As I read this book, I felt I was right there, sharing the lives and secrets of the characters in the story. I enjoyed going back in history, to the mid-1920's via Grace's memories. The suspense at the end of the novel was great.

It was difficult to put this book down. I will eagerly wait for Kate Morton's second novel.
Shirley (05/07/08)

The House At Riverton
A superficial novel, never developing the characters enough to encourage interest in them or their plight. Dialogue too monotonous to allow imagination. One feels on the verge of interest when the plot is redirected leaving one searching to rekindle caring. Although the premise evokes intrigue, it ends up reading like a book for a teenage girl. There is a good story here that a more skilled writer could make into a page turner.
Robyn (05/07/08)

Fine example of a fun genre
The first sentence of this book lets you know where the author is going: it is a clear echo of the famous first sentence of Du Maurier's Rebecca: "Last night I dreamed I went to Manderly again.." That first sentence tells you what you need to know; this book draws on what Daphne DuMaurier did first and best -- the gothic mystery, with the somewhat secretive narrator, and the stories that take place under the surface. I read another review compare it to The Thirteenth Tale, and I'd agree with that comparison. Like The Thirteenth Tale, it has a great setup, and it moves forward well -- but I spent most of the book waiting for it to kick into fifth gear, and it never quite there. The author has a great sense of place and time, and a great ability to build up intrigue; but it never quite pays off in the way that a lasting classic would. That said, it was well worth the read, especially for people (and there are lots of us) who are fans of the genre.
Irene (05/07/08)

The House at Riverton
A wonderful novel!

The setting (1900-1924) and the place (Riverton House in the English countryside) are well researched and have a definite feeling of authenticity.
The characters are all caught, unsuspecting at first, in a changing time between two wars; politics, ambitions, attitudes toward women, their place in society and the suffragette movement all play a part in their lives. Both major and minor characters have secrets, which lead the reader to many questions, some answered and some not answered.

The story alternates between the past and the present (1999) from the perspective of the main character, Grace, who begins as a servant girl at age 14 and dying at age 98, In her last hours she shares with the reader the secret she has kept for 75 years.
This is a thoroughly enjoyable book. I look forward to more of Kate Morton’s work in the near future.
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