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Let’s talk about The House at Riverton by Kate Morton. The House at Riverton is a gorgeous debut novel set in England between the wars.
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The House at Riverton
Author: Kate Morton
Genre: Historical Fiction
The House at Riverton is a gorgeous debut novel set in England between the wars. Perfect for fans of “Downton Abbey,” it’s the story of an aristocratic family, a house, a mysterious death, and a way of life that vanished forever, told in flashback by a woman who witnessed it all.
The novel is full of secrets – some revealed, others hidden forever, reminiscent of the romantic suspense of Daphne du Maurier. It’s also a meditation on memory and the devastation of war and a beautifully rendered window into a fascinating time in history.
Let me start by saying that I love Kate Morton and have now read all of her books. Morton writes fictional tales that typically span three generations or more and are usually told through multiple timelines, from the early 1900s to the early 2000s. They sometimes take a little time to get into, but if you want to give this author a read, The House at Riverton would be a great place to start! My other two favorites are The Forgotten Garden and The Clockmaker’s Daughter.
So let’s get into The House at Riverton. The story is told to us by Grace, the main character, who begins working as a housemaid at Riverton at the age of 14 in the year 1914. This beautiful English estate has been home to the Hartford family going back 300 years to the present day as she lives out her last years in a nursing home. Fans of Downton Abbey will love this book because, like the show, we get to know the family who lives at Riverton from the point of view of the servant staff.
Present-day Grace has long been keeping a secret about a mysterious death at Riverton in the summer of 1924. Dedication to the Hartford family, loyalty to Hannah Hartford, who Grace quickly bonded with upon arriving at the house despite their status difference, and perhaps a little bit of Grace’s guilt have kept her from sharing what happened on that terrible summer evening down by the lake. Still, there is one person who Grace feels that she can confide in. This person has recently suffered a tragedy and has been adrift and impossible to get in touch with for several years. Will Grace find a way to reach them in time? Grace can feel herself fading away as her memories of the past return, harder and harder to push down and ignore. As the book goes on, details of the night that changed everything are slowly revealed, but in true Kate Morton fashion, she still finds a way to weave in the unexpected at the very end. Once you get into the story, The House at Riverton will be hard to put down until the very last page.
I give The House at Riverton by Kate Morton 5 out of 5 stars.
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