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: Hot Milk
    Hot Milk
    by Deborah Levy
    When people reach their early 20s, they often choose to go abroad – they want to get away from...
  • Book Jacket: Ninety-Nine Stories of God
    Ninety-Nine Stories of God
    by Joy Williams
    I have to preface this review by saying that I am not a fan of religious fiction - not even books ...
  • Book Jacket: The Book That Matters Most
    The Book That Matters Most
    by Ann Hood
    BookBrowse First Impression reviewers appreciated the innovative structure of The Book That Matters ...

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    The Invisible Life of Ivan Isaenko
    by Scott Stambach

    "An auspicious, gut-wrenching, wonderful debut." - Kirkus, starred review

    Read Member Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    All the Ugly and Wonderful Things
    by Bryn Greenwood

    A memorable coming-of-age tale about loyalty, defiance, and the power of love.

    Read Member Reviews

Book Discussions
Book Jacket
Circling the Sun
by Paula McLain

An intoxicatingly vivid portrait of colonial Kenya and its privileged inhabitants.

About the book
Join the discussion!
Win this book!
Win Lady Cop Makes Trouble

The Kopp Sisters Return!

One of the nation's first female deputy sheriffs returns in another gripping adventure based on fact.

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

Manners M (T) M

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.