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Thursday, 29 March 2012

Book review #8 - The House at Riverton





Title: The house at Riverton
Author: Kate Morton


Publisher:  Atria Books (1 April 2008)  
ISBN:  978-0330448444  
Print lenght:352 pages










Synopsis


Riverton Manor. A grand English country house. Home to Hannah and Emmiline Hartford. Theirs a life of privilage, with all its finery and glittering society parties. Mystery and secrets. Love, loss and tragedy.
Here, hidden beneath the layers of time the ghosts of old memories are stirred.
Their story is told by Grace Bradley. One time housemaid at Riverton. As the tale unfolds a secret is about to emerge, something forgotten in the midsts of time but not as it seems by Grace...




My thoughts


What a book!! After reading the book The distant hours by the same Author, I couldn't resist this one which apparently had the best reviews too. Now I am seriously compelled to buy the other one! The forgotten Garden!! Watch this space!!
In The house at Riverton, we are following the life of young Grace, who follows the path of her Mother by being a maid in a grand house. We are in the years before the WWI and big old families are important and rich!! This is still a a time when social barriers where so great, you could do nothing against it!
The story is told by Old Grace reminiscing her younger years.
As she is approached by Ursula, a movie writer, who wants to write the story of the famous Robbie Hunter suicide in the garden at the House at Riverton.
No one knows the thruth and she decides as she gets to the end of her life, to record her memoires as a gift to her grand son.
First, she is telling her story as a maid and meeting the Hartford sisters during their teenager years, then as a lady's maid for the oldest sister Hannah.
Always keeping her place and never crossing the barrier, we learn about her life and her sacrifices.
As in The Distant hours, there is a big secret and the whole story unfolds along the book to reveal the final punch just at the end.
There were more than one mystery and I did find one of them straight away. The big one is more difficultt o guess and although there are some clues all along the story, it is almost impossible to guess what happens at the end:

Spoilers:
The small secret is that Grace might be the love child of Mr Frederick Hartford, the latest Lord Ashbury
The big secret is that it is actually Hannah who kills Robbie with a gun found in Emmeline's friend jacket. Emmeline had understood the love affairs between Robbie and Hannah and that Hannah was going to leave with him, she produced the gun to try to stop them, when Hannah finally got it, she was  pursued by Robbie into shooting Emmeline. With the both of them closing in on her, she decides to shoot Robbie. Grace is told to leave and hid Hannah suitcase while Emmeline and Hannah tell Teddy (Hannah's husband) that they just witnessed a suicide!
Also, Hannah got pregnant from Robbie, died in childbirth, and the daughter Florence was sent to a cousin in America. The grand-daughter of Florence, Ursula, knowing nothing of the truth, wants to write a story about what she thought is a long cousin story when actually its her great grand mother and great grand father

All in all, it was a gripping fabulous story. 
The writing of Kate Morton is brilliant, I learnt a few new words and am looking forward to reading her next books

My ratings

*****

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