On My Bookshelf: The House at Riverton


Time for another edition of what's on my bookshelf! I've been planning to write this post since before I started the book. But after I finished it, I knew I had to write this post!

The House at Riverton is written by Kate Morton (who has also written The Distant Hours, The Forgotten Garden, & The Secret Keeper) and was published in 2007. Morton's books (of which I've now read 2) all seem to have an element of people searching in the past for secrets/answers that are buried deep.

This book really surprised me. I've read another of Kate Morton's book, The Forgotten Garden, and I liked it, but it didn't have me desperate for more. But what I loved about The House at Riverton was the very Downton Abbey-esque feel. Seriously, I actually checked to see when it had been written because I found it so similar to Downton.
Good Reads / Amazon / Chapters Indigo
From the publisher,
          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 beautifully rendered window into a fascinating time in history.
More of my thoughts after the jump...


Downton fans, fear not, the story is different enough that I thoroughly enjoyed it. It's really just that it's set it a big English house and follows the lives of the staff and the family that makes it similar. But the characters are different, the timeline is different, the story and how it unfolds are completely different and new.

I figured out one of the secrets (the identity of Grace's father) before it was revealed, but I didn't figure out the 'big' secret until the end. It kept me intrigued from start to finish, and I enjoyed how Morton told the story from Grace's memories.

If you're a fan of Downton, or even just a fan of all things British, you will (most likely) really enjoy this book!

If you have read it, let me know what you thought in the comments! Or if you haven't, do you want to read it?

xo,
B