Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Review--The House at Riverton, by Kate Morton

I received an ARC of this book through the Amazon Vine early reviewing program about a month ago, but because I had so many other books on my plate to read and review, I never got around to The House at Riverton. Even then, I kind of stalled. And I wonder why I waited so long. The House at Riverton is a truly excellent book.

Set around the Hartford family right before, during, and after World War I, The House at Riverton is told from the point of view of Grace Bradley, who comes to Riverton at the age of fourteen to be a housemaid there. At first, I thought the book was simply going to be an exposé of the upstairs-downstairs world of pre-war England, but ultimately the book turned out to be something quite different. As an outsider, Grace is instantly drawn to the two Hartford girls, Hannah and Emmeline, two distinctly different sisters who are very close to one another. But In 1924 the lives of everyone at Riverton are changed when a shocking suicide is committed there.

The back cover of the book says it is reminiscent of Daphne DuMaurier, and I’d have to say that I agree with that assessment. It also reminds me a bit of Diane Setterfield’s The Thirteenth Tale. The novel is filled with a wealth of secrets, possibly more than one family could handle at once. What I especially loved about the book was how well the story was told. I literally did not want this novel to end, but I kept reading on, wanting to find out what happened to the wonderful characters within. As a reader, you get sucked into the lives of all these characters—that’s the beauty of The House at Riverton. Absolutely, 100% recommended.

Also reviewed by: A Striped Armchair, 1 More Chapter, Many a Quaint and Curious Volume, The Sleepy Reader, A Garden Carried in the Pocket, Judytta, BCF Book Reviews, S. Krishna Books, Tiny Little Reading Room, Life and Times of a "New" New Yorker, Between the Covers, A Life in Books

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