Saturday, September 17, 2011

BT: The House at Riverton by Kate Morton

Secrets and elements of mystery, war and the inevitable changes it brings are just some of the major themes in this book. It is difficult to review without giving away spoilers.

Grace's destiny, or so it would seem at the time, will be a life of service. She is first hired at the Riverton house when she is fourteen years old in 1914. Her mother worked there before her and it is her mother who sends her off because of a lack of money. Grace's first position is a house maid and has various cleaning duties. During her cleaning of the library, she comes across three children from a visiting relative who are playing there. The lives of these three children and Grace's interaction with them will govern the remainder of the book. The story takes place in England.

The narrator is in first person, Grace, as she is recalling her life of servitude as an elderly woman at an assisted living apartment. She has a daughter, Ruth and a grandson, Marcus. Grace decides to tell her story to Marcus by recording them on cassette tapes and sending them to him in America. The book is written in flashbacks with most of the book occurring from 1914 ~ 1926. A movie is going to be made about some of the events at Riverton and Grace is contacted by one of the producers for an interview. Floods of memories come back to Grace, but she is ever the faithful servant and does not give away all of her mistress's secrets.

I enjoyed this book, but it does have a flow of sadness, of melancholy in the writing. I think this was intentional as this is how Grace's memories come back to her. I found this aspect rather difficult and the book seemed to weigh heavy on me. I hope Ms. Morton's other books have a lighter feel. Still, it is a recommended read.

She doesn't know I cry for the changing times. That just as I reread favorite books, some small part of me hoping for a different ending, I find myself hoping against hope that the war will never come. That this time, somehow, it will leave us be.
All Good Things, pg 71.

The House At Riverton
This edition published: 2008, hardcover, 473 pages
Atria Books, New York.

1 comment:

  1. Great review... I loved this book and completely agree that this book has a 'heavy' feel to it... I have not read The Distant Hours yet but The Forgotten Garden is still on the 'heavy' side but worth it by the time you get to the end of the story :-)