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February 08, 2011

The House at Riverton: A Novel by Kate Morton

It's been a long while since I've dusted off this book blog and written a review of anything. And yes, I've read a few books but I've been knitting more than reading and find that the two do not compliment each other. And then, I rediscovered Audible. So with my Kindle happily playing at my side I am managing to accomplish both. Seems appropriate while reading this novel, given the time period and subject matter, that my hands were not idle as I enjoyed the story.

The House at Riverton is a story of the lives of a wealthy family at the turn of the century as told by an aging woman who lived as a ladies' maid. Along with the "upstairs/downstairs" quality of the story, it's the voice of Grace--the narrator--that draws you into the complicated lives of the characters in a way that allows you the freedom to move about in both worlds.

Grace comes to work at Riverton as a 14yr old girl, connected through her mother to the history of the house in a maze of connections that play out in the mystery of the story. I hesitate to call the story a mystery, although I'm sure it could be categorized as such. It strives to be more of a gothic novel using many traditional gothic tropes. The house, the grounds, the haunting intrusion of the past into the present--all of these things together are used as a nod not only to the style of writing but also the time period.

It was the first novel in a long while that I read torn between racing to the conclusion and delaying the finality of the last page. A good read. A good book club choice. Definitely worth curling up with on a dark stormy day by the fire.

My rating: ****

Posted by michelle at February 8, 2011 10:31 AM

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