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Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The House at Riverton - Kate Morton

Grace was young during the time of World War I, and served as a housemaid at Riverton House, somewhere in the countryside of England. Lord and Lady Ashbury had two granddaughters, Hannah and Emmeline, and Grace’s life becomes intwined with theirs.

In the present day, an elderly Grace is contacted by a young woman making a film about Riverton House, and the fateful day that the poet R. S. Hunter committed suicide in front of Hannah and Emmeline. What the young woman cannot know is that Grace was there too, and has carried a guilty secret about that day all her life.

I definitely enjoyed this book. The servant’s life downstairs was wonderfully drawn, and was fascinating how well the author worked in the changing times after the war when it was clear that the old ways of service could not survive. Grace is a very sympathetic character, and despite being a servant, she never seems servile.

I do think I enjoyed the other book of Morton’s that I’ve read (The Forgotten Garden) a bit better. That book was ultimately a little more uplifting than this one was in the end, though I can agree that this story ended in just about the only way that it logically could.

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