The House at Riverton by Kate Morton
The House at Riverton is a compelling tale set in the days of the 1920’s with references to the present day where we see the main character of the story, Grace, as an elderly lady who recalls past events in her life.
The story is quite riveting and fascinating. A beautiful mansion set in wonderful landscaped gardens with an Icarus fountain and statues of Eros and Psyche and also memorable characters who live and work at the house at Riverton. A beautiful place with a lake and summer house. A place which lent itself to wonderful entertainments and soirees.
A place also, where Grace spent so much of her life at from the time of arrival at age 14. The place and her duties there as a domestic servant and subsequently as a lady’s maid inspired in her a life-time of devotion and loyalty.
There were so many new things for Grace to learn and assimilate and over time she came to learn about matters which had not been brought to the surface. As though so many things about her life were kept hidden from her. In many respects, this book is also psychological as well as being a mystery.
It tells of a time of beauty and elegance, a way of life which was more in keeping with the Victorian era and values and of a world on the brink of change.
The lives of Hannah and Emmeline, two aristocratic sisters, coincided with the life of Grace. It was also a story of an aristocratic family of England before and after the First World War; how the the war years affected the fortunes of the family and the perils of social change in the class system of the time.
The dialogue of the story and characterisation are absolutely thrilling. The story at times is also tense and emotional. It also reflects the modes and manners of the time. It is a wonderful story which I highly recommend.
There is also an interview with the author who describes her interest in the times of the 1920’s and gives further reading material. There are also questions posed regarding the story and its characters for discussion at reading groups.