Tuesday 7 November 2017
Book Review: The House at Riverton by Kate Morton
Author: Kate Morton
Publication Date: 2007 (2006)
Source: Secondhand Copy
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. (Goodreads Synopsis)
The House at Riverton was enjoyable enough, but it failed to grip me. I think one of the issues was the fact that I didn't see the need for the modern day part of the story. Okay, it sets up her retelling of events in the past as she seeks to release a secret she's held for so long, but that could have been done in other ways. On the whole, I found myself skimming those sections to get back to the historical events. The other problem I had was how dense Grace seemed. Surely she could have worked out, or at least suspected, things a bit early than she did. The story idea was entertaining, but I lost most of the emotional impact because I never fully connected with any of the main characters. So, this is a three-star read for me. It wasn't bad; it simply failed to engage me at the level I would have liked. However, it is bound to please fans of light historical fiction as it's very much a summer beach read.