Thursday, April 3, 2008

The House at Riverton-Kate Morton

The House at Riverton
Kate Morton
Atria, Apr 2008, $24.95
ISBN: 9781416550518

In 1999 Ursula Ryan plans to make a film about the events at The House at Riverton in 1924. She meets with the only known person still alive, ninety-eight years old nursing home resident Grace Reeves to confirm the facts.

Grace was fourteen years old when, like her mother, she obtained work as a servant to the aristocratic Hartford family at Riverton House. She especially enjoyed “invisibly” watching Lord Asbury’s two nieces and nephews when they visited. Her favorite target was Hannah, who was her age. In 1924, sisters Hannah and Emmeline were allegedly the only witnesses to poet R.S. Hunter committing suicide at Riverton. However, Grace also saw what happened on that fatal day as Hannah's selfish plans and Emmeline's jealousy surface while the maid observes first hand the death of the poet.

This is an engaging haunting love story that brings to life a bygone era of the English aristocracy in decline following WWI. The four prime characters seem genuine though filtered by the nonagenarian memory of seventy five years ago. Kate Morton provides a strong character driven tale of hate, deceit, and love with the more powerful element triumphing.

Harriet Klausner

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