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The House at Riverton Audio CD – Apr 1 2008
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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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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.
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.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
Enjoyed the story, lots of characters and sometimes hard to keep track of them, but surprised by the twist at the very end!!Published 1 month ago by Dale DeHeer
i didn't enjoy this book as much of Kate's other books. i found it rather predicable.Published 11 months ago by Judy Walton
A decent read, but not my favourite Kate Morton book!
Kate is an amazing storyteller, but with this book i was left feeling disappointed with how the story wrapped up. Read more
It was very interesting about a secret that an old lady kept for years.Published 13 months ago by Pauline Siscoe
I love the author's style of writing and in particular the way she wove past and present into an exciting read. Read morePublished 14 months ago by Sue
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