#56 ~ The House at Riverton

February 7, 2008 at 11:16 am | Posted in Barnes & Noble, Books, Culture, Family, First Look Book Club, Historical Fiction, Secrets and Lies | 7 Comments
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The House at Riverton: A Novel by Kate Morton

When Barnes and Noble announced their second offering to the First Look Book Club I was ecstatic. Just reading the brief descriptions of the novel and its author made me excited to receive a copy of this book. When it arrived, I found that it even smelled good. The novel matched the smell and that is always a brilliant combination. B&N certainly picked a winner to follow up The Monsters of Templeton by Lauren Groff.

The House of Riverton tells the story of Grace, a 90-year-old woman who is jolted back to the memories of her past service to the household of Lord Ashbury when she receives a letter from a woman making a film about the tragedy that happened there in her youth. Grace may be elderly, but she is a sharp and insightful woman. Her story is entertaining and somewhat sad. The fate of the Ashbury family dramatically impacts her life in so many ways; but, her personal sacrifices, like her service itself, were left seemingly unnoticed until it was too late. Still, Grace regrets nothing except that which hurt her daughter. Woven within the story of her youth is the story of her own family. Part of what makes this novel so poignant is that she retells the story of her life at Riverton and the truth of what happened the night of the poet’s suicide as a love letter to her grandson.

Although this novel has widespread appeal, it will be most especially enjoyed by those who enjoy reading about Edwardian England and about the lives of those who served British aristocracy. As much as I loved The Remains of the Day, there was little warmth within it. The people at Riverton, both upstairs and downstairs, live as their status dictated, but they are very human and complex. What makes this novel so special and delightful is its heart.

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To buy this novel, click here.

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