From the #1 internationally bestselling author of The Forgotten Garden comes a gorgeous novel set in England between World War I and World war II. Perfect for fans of Downton Abbey, it is the story of an aristocratic family, a house, a mysterious death and a way of life that vanished forever, told in flashback by a woman who witnessed it all and kept a secret for decades.
Grace Bradley went to work at Riverton House as a servant when she was just a girl, before the First World War. For years her life was inextricably tied up with the Hartford family, most particularly the two daughters, Hannah and Emmeline.
In the summer of 1924, at a glittering society party held at the house, a young poet shot himself. The only witnesses were Hannah and Emmeline and only they—and Grace—know the truth.
In 1999, when Grace is ninety-eight years old and living out her last days in a nursing home, she is visited by a young director who is making a film about the events of that summer. She takes Grace back to Riverton House and reawakens her memories. Told in flashback, this is the story of Grace's youth during the last days of Edwardian aristocratic privilege shattered by war, of the vibrant twenties and the changes she witnessed as an entire way of life vanished forever.
The novel is full of secrets—some revealed, others hidden forever, reminiscent of the romantic suspense of Daphne du Maurier. It is also a meditation on memory, the devastation of war and a beautifully rendered window into a fascinating time in history.
Kate Morton’s first novel, originally published to critical acclaim in Australia, and quickly becoming a #1 bestseller in England, The House at Riverton is a vivid, page-turning novel of suspense and passion, with characters—and an ending—readers won't soon forget.
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.
The House at Riverton
Loved the book. Loved the characters. I'm sorry to have finished it!
The house at riverton
An amazingly wonderful read....beautifully woven and immensely entertaining!!! The characters and plot are vivid and engrossing!!! Love the period and this was even better than downtown abbey! A must read for the "upstairs/downstairs" fans but weaves in agatha Christie and tons of intrigue! WOW!!
A Captivating and Page-Turning Read -- Highly Recommended
A story of love and mystery and the secrets held over time, THE HOUSE AT RIVERTON captivated me with its lush twists and tucks in the story. Told in 1999 by Grace Bradley, one-time housemaid at the Riverton Estate in England, the story she tells is of the family she cared for, of sisters Hannah and Emmeline, and of the vast and sweeping secrets she helped them to keep. With full-bodied characters flawed over time and hardships, the sweeping story Grace tells leads the reader to a highly impactful ending.
Kate Morton's beautiful style of telling the story is enchanting, and keeps the reader turning pages ever more urgently as the novel draws to a close. I appreciated Ms. Morton's adept telling of the story through the eyes of Grace, and of the complex world she reflects upon from her youth.
It is important not to flip to the end and spoil the story ... I was blown away by the ending, yet it all made perfect sense.
A brilliant, luminous read, highly recommended for readers who enjoy literary mystery woven with a impactful love story, with historical and contemporary elements. One of my all-time favorite novels.