From the back of the book:
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.
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.
Set as the war-shattered Edwardian summer surrenders to the decadent twenties, The House at Riverton is a thrilling mystery and a compelling love story.
This is a Richard and Judy book, although I didn’t realise when I bought it. I was drawn to it by its cover as I’ve not heard of Kate Morton before, which is hardly surprising as this is her debut novel
It tells the story of Hannah and Emmeline, two girls from a privileged background, and of a young housemaid at Riverton, Grace.
The story is told by Grace by use of flashbacks and these flashbacks are very neatly integrated into the story so you don’t even consciously notice it switching from present to past as it does it seamlessly.
The characters are very well written, and the author has researched life in a big house with many servants and writes convincingly. She references some of the books/TV programmes that inspired her in the back of the book. I was quite surprised to read that she is actually Australian – she obviously has a keen interest in UK history.
The story drew me in very quickly and kept me wanting to know more. The event at the party in summer 1924, mentioned in the ‘blurb’ doesn’t happen until very near the end of the book, and it kept me guessing right up to its conclusion.
All in all, it was a great story. I must confess to shedding a few tears towards the end!
I gave it 8½ out of 10
Reviewed by Janet