Book Review: The House at Riverton

Recently I read “The House at Riverton” by Kate Morton, which was a bargain find at Borders bookstore. JP and I go there sometimes to peruse the clearance bins and to check out titles of new releases.  I thought it looked interesting because I’m a sucker for love-stories, especially those that revolved around some form of tragedy or unrequited love.  The book primarily takes place through memories of a former housekeeper/lady handmaid for a prominent English family in the 1920s. Grace, the main character, holds a deep secret involving two sisters that she serves, Hannah and Emmeline Hartford and the events of a party that left a young poet and family friend Robbie dead by the family lake.

The book seemed to take a little bit too long to get to the “good stuff” or the actual climax of the book, but once it arrived and the reader was “let in” on all the family’s little secrets, it seemed as if a flood gate of a good read was opened. From the relationship of Hannah-Emmeline-Robbie to Grace’s relations to the Hartford family to the repercussions of the war on the men of the time, it seemed like there was so much “good” information that the reader couldn’t get enough of. Spoiler alert – My most favorite part, of course, was the love story between Hannah and Robbie and how (obviously) the reader knew that it wasn’t going to end well. It was sort of like Romeo and Juliet when you want to scream out at them to stop what they are doing or they would suffer severe pain and loss, but at the same time you can’t keep your eyes from peeling away from their story. I wish that Morton would have had some deeper relationship formed between the sisters as I feel they “tolerated” each other more than anything throughout the novel and it would have been interesting to see how their rivalry of the relationship with their older brother played out in their lives more.  Otherwise, for $3.99, it was a pretty good read! I was surprised and impressed and I would definitely recommend picking up this novel for a leisure stroll through the past.

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