Reading guide for The House at Riverton by Kate Morton

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

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

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
Donna Chavez

Buy This Book

About this Book

Reading Guide Questions Print Excerpt

Please be aware that this discussion guide may contain spoilers!

  1. Do you think of The House at Riverton as a tragic novel? How are the characters' tragic outcomes caused by the incompatibility of what they want and who they are?

  2. How important to the novel's outcome is Grace's longing for a sister? When Grace finds out about her true parentage, why does she choose not to tell Hannah? Is it the right decision? Would things have ended differently had she done otherwise?

  3. Kate Morton has said that the novel's setting is as important to her as its characters, that Riverton Manor is as much a character of the book as its inhabitants. Do you agree? Does Riverton mirror the fates of the Hartford family and the aristocracy in general? If so, in what ways?

  4. The First World War was a catalyst for enormous social and cultural change. Not a character in The House at Riverton is left untouched by this. Whose life is most altered? Why?

  5. Is there a heroine in The House at Riverton? If so, who is it and why?

  6. Grace and Robbie are both illegitimate children of upper-class parents; however, their lives and opportunities are vastly different. Why?

  7. Duty is very important to the youthful Grace. Did Grace's sense of duty contribute to the novel's conclusion? If so, how? Would things have turned out better for the characters if Grace had made different decisions?

  8. One of the main themes of The House at Riverton is the haunting of the present by the past. In what ways does the novel suggest that the past can never be escaped? Do you agree that our pasts are inescapable?

  9. Grace has resisted ever telling anyone about the events at Riverton. Why? What makes her change her mind? Is Grace a reliable narrator? Given her motive for recording her memories, can we trust her?

  10. The twentieth century was a period of great and accelerated social change. In particular, the historical years that make up the bulk of Grace's memories comprised a time of enormous transition. In what ways does Grace's life exemplify these social changes?

  11. Despite their differences, how might Grace and Hannah be seen as "doubles"? How does Grace's relationship with Alfred mirror Hannah's relationship with Robbie?

  12. Another theme in The House at Riverton is that of inheritance -- the way we are bound to our families through various items that are passed between the generations. Along with material inheritances, we are also subject to physical, social and psychological legacies. These inheritances are important in making us who we are, and are not easily escaped. In what way is this notion explored in The House at Riverton? How do these various types of inheritance influence the lives of Hannah, Frederick, Teddy, Robbie, Grace, Jemima and Simion?

Unless otherwise stated, this discussion guide is reprinted with the permission of Washington Square Press. Any page references refer to a USA edition of the book, usually the trade paperback version, and may vary in other editions.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

One-Month Free Membership

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Harmony
    Harmony
    by Carolyn Parkhurst
    In previous novels such as The Dogs of Babel and Lost and Found, Carolyn Parkhurst has shown herself...
  • Book Jacket: Commonwealth
    Commonwealth
    by Ann Patchett
    Opening Ann Patchett's novel Commonwealth about two semi-functional mid-late 20th Century ...
  • Book Jacket: A Gentleman in Moscow
    A Gentleman in Moscow
    by Amor Towles
    It is June 21, 1922, and 33-year-old Count Alexander Ilyich Rostov is convicted of being a class ...

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    Darling Days
    by iO Tillett Wright

    A devastatingly powerful memoir of one young woman's extraordinary coming of age.

    Read Member Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    The Tea Planter's Wife
    by Dinah Jefferies

    An utterly engrossing, compulsive page-turner set in 1920s Ceylon.

    Read Member Reviews

Book Discussions
Book Jacket
Under the Udala Trees
by Chinelo Okparanta

Raw, emotionally intelligent and unflinchingly honest--a triumph.

About the book
Join the discussion!
Win this book!
Win Blood at the Root

Blood at the Root

"A gripping, timely, and important examination of American racism."
- PW Starred Review

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

D C Y C Before T A H

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.

 
X

Free Weekly Newsletter

Keep up with what's happening in the world of books:
Reviews, previews, interviews and more!



Spam Free: Your email is never shared with anyone; opt out any time.