The House at Riverton
Author: Kate Morton
Date Published: April 22nd 2008
"Grace Bradley went to work at Riverton House as a servant when she was just a girl, before the First World War. For years her life was inextricably tied up with the Hartford family, most particularly the two daughters, Hannah and Emmeline." "In the summer of 1924, at a glittering society party held at the house, a young poet shot himself. The only witnesses were Hannah and Emmeline and only they - and Grace - know the truth." "In 1999, when Grace is ninety-eight years old and living out her last days in a nursing home, she is visited by a young director who is making a film about the events of that summer. She takes Grace back to Riverton House and reawakens her memories. Told in flashback, this is the story of Grace's youth during the last days of Edwardian aristocratic privilege shattered by war, of the vibrant twenties and the changes she witnessed as an entire way of life vanished forever." The novel is full of secrets - some revealed, others hidden forever, reminiscent of the romantic suspense of Daphne du Maurier. It is also a
meditation on memory, the devastation of war and a window into a fascinating time in history.
The House at Riverton is a mesmerizing story that will keep your attention.
The story is told from Grace Bradley’s point of view, the 98 year old former maid of Riverton Manor. She’s contacted by a director who is making a film about the tragedy that happen at Riverton in the 1920’s, a Young poet committed suicide on the grounds during a party. Suddenly memories and secrets that Grace has been harboring come to surface. Grace comes to the decision
that it’s time to tell the story…the story of Hannah and Emmaline Hartford, and Riverton.
The House at Riverton is a dark gothic tale that takes readers through a tragic love story, as well as a mystery. What happened that tragic night a young poet took his life? Ms. Morton weaves an elegant story of love, betrayal, and secrets. Her words are elegant, and breathe to life the 1920’s.
I was equally impressed with the key players of The House at Riverton. Sisters Hannah and Emmaline are different in so many ways. I can see everyone identifying with one or the other sister. Grace though, really is the shining character of the novel. You like her as a 98 yr. old women, and will love her as she recollects her time as a maid at Riverton Manor.
If you love gothic mysteries you will love The House at Riverton. It has the feel of Ian McEwan’s Atonement.