House of Secrets

After enjoying Kate Morton’s last book so much I decided to read her debut novel The House at Riverton.

Housemaid Grace enters the Riverton household as a maid at the age of 14. There she meets the Master’s grandchildren, David, Hannah and Emmeline. Life as a housemaid is full of hard work and tedious tasks but the position holds much respect and honor. The character’s lives during WWI England and the aftermath are chronicled, and an event that intertwines their lives forever remains a mystery to the reader.

The novel goes back and forth from the present, when Grace is 98 years old to the days when she served at the Riverton House. Her time spent there is relived due to a movie being made about the sisters and the tragic events that unfolded during the 1920’s. Grace is the only living person available to rely on for accuracy, however the reader quickly learns she plans on harboring the secret even after 70 years have past. Nothing is completely revealed until the end, but details are given away throughout the story to keep you guessing.

One of the novel’s highlights is the way Morton demonstrates the changes in England’s culture and woman’s roles after WWI. I enjoyed being able to visualize life on an estate in the late 1900’s and seeing the changes that occurred as time went on. The excitement and thrill of the 1920’s are portrayed vividly. The story is a good one, very well thought out and keeps the reader interested. In contrast to The Forgotten Garden where I simply could not put the book down, House at Riverton was slower paced and I read it in many sittings. I recommend this book for a chilly fall afternoon or a snowed-in night. They will be coming soon!

-Kelly

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