The House At Riverton by Kate Morton - Book Review

Ninety-eight year old Grace Bradley has received a letter from an American filmmaker asking questions about a historic moment to which she was witness. An event, recorded incorrectly, to which she alone holds the truth. For the better part of her life, Grace has attempted to repress this memory. But now, since the letter, she can’t stop remembering.

So begins The House at Riverton, a debut novel by Kate Morton. Ms. Morton has done everything right with this novel. There are little clue drops, just enough to perk our interest, continually infused into Grace’s retelling. Morton's characterization is spot on, making us care about each individual, leading us to read onward in hopes of opening more clues to their lives. The plot is exceptionally paced, alternating between present day nursing home bound Grace and youthful Grace at all the right moments. And though parts of the mystery may not come as a complete surprise, the telling is so exactingly rendered we feel that we are standing alongside Grace at the water’s edge on the fateful night. The ending is excellent, exacted poignantly, as befitting Grace. The postscript delivers a final wave of bittersweet.

More than just a telling of Grace’s witness to times past,The House at Riverton, illuminates the historical nuance and cultural transformations wrought by the two world wars - the ways in which aristocratic society gave way to increased equality, the change in woman’s rights, the effects of war on one’s psyche, burdens from the loss of young soldiers and financial ruination from mass production and industrialization. Ms. Morton succeeds in conveying historical knowledge to the greatest effect within the background of the story. Upon the novel’s reflection, we comprehend the enormous wave of changes Grace has lived through.

I will definitely recommend this novel. It is of special interest to those enjoying historical fiction, British aristocratic culture and admirers of fine suspense writing.

Read from an advanced copy. Available in USA on April 22, 2008.

Buy The House at Riverton HERE

© 2007-2009

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DesLily said...

I came here to see your list for Carls Fantasy Challenge (fantasy being my main read!) and kept reading... now THIS book looks interesting!!! It sounds just a tad like the 13th Tale, being mostly "memory" and trying to figure it all out~

You didn't mention this was an ARC!! I couldn't believe it when I checked Amazon and it won't be released until end of April.. and then it doesn't have the great cover your had!!! grrrrrr lol

Tasses said...

Thanks so much for popping over!

I haven't read The 13th Tale, but I have it in a massive TBR before I die pile. Yes, this book is told through the memory of the protagonist and she's one of those gals you don't necessarily 'like,' but you want to know her story. I think those sort of well-rounded characters are what make or break a good book.

Sorry about the publication date. I have that in my notes to start noting when I review. The cover is the British edition. I think it's already on sale at Amazon UK, but the shipping wouldn't be worth the cover art!

I just finished another ARC where history played a large role. My "Sepulchre" by Koss Mosse review will be up soon! It fits into Carl's fantasy challenge, but it's publication date is next month also.

Katherine said...

I too read an ARC of this book. It was one of the best books I've read all year; I enthusiastically recommend it to anyone looking for something to read.


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