(Review) The House At Riverton by Kate Morton
Publisher: Atria Books.
Genre: Fiction, family saga.
Rating: 3 stars for good.
As a fourteen year old girl, Grace Reeves, becomes a housemaid for the Hartford family at the Riverton estate in England. Grace is the only child of a single mother who had also worked at the estate, but is now in poor health. The year is 1914, the war in Europe is looming. The Hartford children are David, Hannah, and Emmeline. Grace becomes exceptionally close to the sisters.
The story moves back and forth in time between the years Grace worked at Riverton, and 1998, when Grace is age 98. A film is being made about the family's saga during the period of the mid 1920s. Grace recounts the details to the director and actors.
The House At Riverton has been in my TBR pile for a few years. I have a second book to read of Morton's, The Forgotten Garden.
I've been disappointed in The House At Riverton. The main reason is I expected Grace in late life to have a strong perspective and opinion of the "crisis" that happened at Riverton. I believe she has kept secrets for decades out of love and loyalty, and this probably held her emotion and tongue in check. Grace is a subdued character.
A perspective of the past is a wonderful element to use in a story. Wisdom gained through experiences in life gives a rich perspective. I wanted to "see" Grace's wisdom.
I loved the use of multiple secrets in the story. Some of the secrets are kept hidden, some are revealed.
I love the time period of World War I and the Roaring Twenties.
I loved Morton bringing in to the story the after-affects of World War I on the soldiers. During this period PTSD was called shell-shock. There were no therapists, medications, support groups, and few books on this subject. Shell-shock was in its infancy of being studied.
Love affairs, in their beginnings, are all about the present. But there is a point in each-an event, an exchange, some other unseen trigger-which forces the past and the future back into focus. page 395.