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The House at Riverton [Audio CD]

Kate Morton , Caroline Lee
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 141.91 & FREE Shipping. Details
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Book Description

April 1 2008

Summer 1924: On the eve of a glittering Society party, by the lake of a grand English country house, a young poet takes his life. The only witnesses, sisters Hannah and Emmeline Hartford, will never speak to each other again.

Winter 1999: Grace Bradley, 98, one-time housemaid of Riverton Manor, is visited by a young director making a film about the poet’s suicide. Ghosts awaken and memories, long consigned to the dark reaches of Grace’s mind, begin to sneak back through the cracks. A shocking secret threatens to emerge; something history has forgotten but Grace never could.

Set as the war-shattered Edwardian summer surrenders to the decadent twenties, The House at Riverton is a thrilling mystery and a compelling love story.

"In honeyed tones Caroline Lee offers up the memories of Grace Bradley…Lee’s reading is intelligent and sympathetic." —AudioFile Magazine

--This text refers to an alternate Audio CD edition.

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From Amazon

Amazon Best of the Month, April 2008: In her cinematic debut novel, Kate Morton immerses readers in the dramas of the Ashbury family at their crumbling English country estate in the years surrounding World War I, an age when Edwardian civility, shaken by war, unravels into the Roaring Twenties. Grace came to serve in the house as a girl. She left as a young woman, after the presumed suicide of a famous young poet at the property's lake. Though she has dutifully kept the family's secrets for decades, memories flood back in the twilight of her life when a young filmmaker comes calling with questions about how the poet really died--and why the Ashbury sisters never again spoke to each other afterward. With beautifully crafted prose, Morton methodically reveals how passion and fate transpired that night at the lake, with truly shocking results. Her final revelation at the story's close packs a satisfyi! ng (and not overly sentimental) emotional punch. --Mari Malcolm --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. This debut page-turner from Australian Morton recounts the crumbling of a prominent British family as seen through the eyes of one of its servants. At 14, Grace Reeves leaves home to work for her mother's former employers at Riverton House. She is the same age as Hannah, the headstrong middle child who visits her uncle, Lord Ashbury, at Riverton House with her siblings Emmeline and David. Fascinated, Grace observes their comings and goings and, as an invisible maid, is privy to the secrets she will spend a lifetime pretending to forget. But when a filmmaker working on a movie about the family contacts a 98-year-old Grace to fact-check particulars, the memories come swirling back. The plot largely revolves around sisters Hannah and Emmeline, who were present when a family friend, the young poet R.S. Hunter, allegedly committed suicide at Riverton. Grace hints throughout the narrative that no one knows the real story, and as she chronicles Hannah's schemes to have her own life and the curdling of younger Emmeline's jealousy, the truth about the poet's death is revealed. Morton triumphs with a riveting plot, a touching but tense love story and a haunting ending. (Apr.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I loved this book March 17 2008
By Kona TOP 100 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
In 1914, when she was 14, Grace came to Riverton Manor as a housemaid. There she met the Master's grandchildren, David, Hannah, and Emmeline, whose lives would forever be linked with her own. Now at the age of 98, Grace looks back at those early years of duty and service, selflessness and silence, and narrates her story while there is still time.

To give away more of the plot would be to rob other readers of the sublime delight I found in reading this book. It is told through the eyes of an old lady who has known great sorrow and some joys. She paints a vivid picture of life among the idle country rich before and after the first War, how carefree children became conflicted adults, and how passion erupted in gunfire amid the fireworks of a grand summer party.

The author has written such a wonderful story and I loved being a part of it. I sobbed through the last chapters knowing the story had to end, knowing what that end would be. I could identify with young Grace as she stoically tended to her spoiled mistress and felt I was holding old Grace's hand as she lay in her bed at the nursing home. This book MUST be made into a movie - it is powerful, dramatic, and heartbreaking, equal parts of mystery, romance, and history - the best book I've read in years.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic Aug. 25 2009
By KK
Format:Paperback
I signed this book out of the library after reading, and thoroughly enjoying, the forgotten Garden. This book far surpassed my expectations and I loved it even more than the forgotten Garden (which has been passed around my family now and is a favourite for everyone). The character development was very well done and almost right to the end I did not suspect what the end would be.

Unlike the other reviewer I enjoyed the time shifting as it really helped to develop the main character in a way that wouldn't have happened otherwise. The decisions she made in the 'past' would not have made sense to me if it did not go along with her current narration.

I highly recommend this book.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Couldn't put it down! April 29 2009
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I purchased this book as it was recommended to me by Amazon, due to the fact I had purchased, "The Thirteenth Tale" by Diane Setterfield. I would say it was a wonderful recommendation! I was hooked immediately. Although I am not a huge fan of story lines that switch back and forth between the present and the past, Kate Morton did a really great job of doing this and I found I didn't mind it at all. The story flowed well. I enjoyed this book so much, I am planning on buying the next book Kate Morton has recently released...I just have to wait until the price goes down a bit!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "The final thread that tethered me has released" July 11 2010
Format:Hardcover
I'm probably the last reader on the planet to pick up The House at Riverton: A Novel, and I don't know why I denied myself the pleasure for so long. This debut novel by Australian Kate Morton was released first in Australia and was already a #1 seller and award-winner in the U.K. before its 2008 release in the U.S. It's a big modern Gothic, ranging over more than eight decades but cleverly contained within the story structure of a first-person narrative.

Grace Bradley, 98 years old and residing in a nursing home, is contacted by a young film-maker producing a film about the 1924 suicide of a young poet. The poet took his life at Riverton, the country manor where Grace was a ladies' maid, and since Grace is the only living person to have known the poet and the family at Riverton, the film-maker wants to interview her.

So begins a retrospective view of Grace's life at Riverton, where she went into service in 1914 at the age of fourteen. The elderly Grace is in the process of recording the details of her life at Riverton for her grandson, a novelist. The book moves back and forth between Grace's first-person accounts and her life in the nursing home as the movie progresses.

The author deftly handles the First World War combat of the poet and his friend, a young man from the Riverton house; she presents as vivid a picture as I've seen in a novel of the fear and isolation in the trenches and the war-torn French countryside. Out of this experience flows the "shell shock" of the young poet, making the wartime scenes a contributing cause of his death. However, there were secrets, and it's clear throughout the book that Grace knows them--Grace alone, now, after all these years.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover
I read Kate Morton's The Forgotten Garden and it was so good, I simply had to read the first book she wrote, The House at Riverton. I was not disappointed. It took me about 100 pages to really feel pulled into the story but that's not uncommon with large tales that span a lifetime. A 90 year old woman's memories just prior to her death, span her servitude from the age of 14 to approximately 28, to the aristocratic family living at the house of Riverton. The story shows the incredible sense of duty and loyalty servants were bred to give their masters/mistresses and their children. It's a tragedy set in a socio-historical period when women weren't encouraged to read, have opinions or be intelligent. Repressed emotion and unfulfilled dreams were the order of the day. One could say this period of history around WWI was the antithesis to self-actualization. What a sad state of affairs. I have to say the most fascinating aspect of this novel was the period in which it was set. Morton paints a picture of what life was like for the servants and the leisure class, revealing both to have unfulfilled lives based on society's rigid expectations. Aristocracy was all about safe-guarding the family name and inheritance, while servants were to act like shadows to those they waited upon, guessing their every need while denying their own. Who can be happy in that picture? You guessed it. The stage is set for tragedy upon tragedy. I found I did not care for the characters the way I wanted to. The hero of the novel, for me, turned out to be Alfred, a soldier returned from war who has the courage to break free from servitude and build a life of his own. The women were sad products of their time, struggling to live true to their needs, desires and dreams, but not quite getting there. Read more ›
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Kate Morton's Edwardian novels
Kate Morton is a master of gothic Edwardian mysteries. Her evocation of life between the two world wars: the manor houses, the culture of a privileged society of a dying... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Nikki
5.0 out of 5 stars Great reading
In her usual style of moving from one era to another Kate Morton keeps the reader engaged seeing the past through the experienced and mature eyes of the present. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Carol Anne Hill
5.0 out of 5 stars wonderful
I have read 2 Kate Morton books now and am a fan. She writes very intelligently and clearly, and the stories and the characters are excellent
Published 5 months ago by A. Nonny Mouse
5.0 out of 5 stars riverton
kate morton is a fantastic writer i love all her books . wish she would write more so i can enjoy
Published 8 months ago by oma
4.0 out of 5 stars House at Riverton - a very engaging mystery with a sense of History.
I am still reading it. I am enjoying the sense of History - the times in London c. the first World War. and the changes that were happening at that time. Read more
Published 8 months ago by judithhood
5.0 out of 5 stars A great read!
This is the second book I've read by this author. I will look for more by her! Well written, a very personal voice.
Published 8 months ago by Beetrot
4.0 out of 5 stars The house at Riverton
As usual Kate Morton writes a great story with interesting characters and lots of intrigue. A good read, highly recommend it.
Published 9 months ago by J. Ward
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent
Having been introduced to Kate Morton in 'The Secret Keeper' which I loved, I am now hooked on her.
'The House at Riverton' is almost as good. Read more
Published 10 months ago by Penny Mitton
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Book
The first Kate Morton book I read was The Secret Keeper which I fell in love with. Because of this I read The House at Riverton. The characters were deep and wonderful. Read more
Published 12 months ago by Suzyvg
5.0 out of 5 stars My new favourite book
This book pulled me in and had me hooked right up until the last page, I recommend this to everyone!
Published 12 months ago by Shelsee
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